19 Dec 2002

Prediction that Fiji drought could be more severe next year

5:43 pm on 19 December 2002

Fiji's National Weather Forecasting Centre is warning that next year's dry season could be the worst ever if the current El Nino effect continues.

The director of meteorology, Rajendra Prasad, says over the next several months many areas of Fiji are likely to receive significantly less rainfall even though this is normally the wettest period of the year.

Mr Prasad says unless major weather influences significantly change the rainfall pattern across the country, the 2002 dry season could be the worst ever.

He sas rainfall patterns have varied considerably over the last few months, with a gradual increase in the number of sites recording below average or very low rainfall.

Some areas have recorded only 15 to 25 percent of their normal rainfall.

Mr Prasad says drought conditions are imminent, especially in the dry areas of Fiji such as the western and northern parts of the two main islands.