18 Nov 2019

Cyclone early warning system for Pacific goes live

7:34 am on 18 November 2019

The Pacific's first cyclone early warning system will go live in Fiji this week.

Nasau village is still shattered.

The early warning system was developed after Cyclone Winston tore through Fiji in 2016. Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

The early warning system was developed to give island nations more notice of the likely impact of cyclones, after 44 people died when the devastating Cyclone Winston tore through Fiji in 2016.

New Zealand-based hydrologist Bapon Fakhruddin designed the system.

"The community [wants] to understand if a cyclone happens, how much water is going to be in my house or on my land or business and how much damage it could create, which is difficult for the existing meteorological service," Dr Fakhruddin said.

A senior natural hazards specialist with Tonkin and Taylor, he said people will be alerted to the intensity of a coming cyclone, when and where it will hit, and what affect it will have on their homes and land.

"With this we hope that the amount of people who died in Cyclone Winston in Fiji won't happen in the future."

Fiji's cyclone season starts in November and goes until April.

Only six other countries in the world have cyclone early warning systems.

Fiji Met Service will operate the early warning system.