9 Dec 2008

Majuro hit by high waves, flash flooding

8:14 pm on 9 December 2008

The Marshall Islands capital Majuro has been by flash flooding due to high waves generated by a low-pressure weather system coinciding with high tide.

The low-pressure system that is moving west in the area caused nine-to-ten foot waves to roll in, inundating many parts of Majuro Atoll, causing damage to homes and washing tons of garbage, rocks and other debris onto the island.

The eastern coast of Majuro appeared to be hardest hit by Tuesday afternoon's surge, with waves slamming seawalls and rolling onto the roads and flooding houses on this low-lying atoll.

There have been no reported injuries, and damage appeared slight, though the clean up job is likely to take several days.

The Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination says the surge shows that the islands are extremely vulnerable to small changes in the environment.

While Tuesday's high tide was 4.1 feet, tides on Saturday this week will peak at 5.5 feet.

Traditionally, the highest tides in the Marshall Islands hit in January and February.