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How concerned should we be about the 'cyclone/bad weather' ?

British Columbia
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How concerned should we be about the 'cyclone/bad weather' ?

We want to go to the Cooks (Rarotonga & Aitutaki) - and Jan 2013 for 3 weeks seems to be the time that works.

From what we've read, this is the cyclone/bad weather period.

How much should this influence whether we go or not in January? We're not youngsters, although active, and look forward to lots of wandering around and snorkeling.

Weather - we're ok with. Dangerous weather, not so much so ;-)

Any advice appreciated.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
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1. Re: How concerned should we be about the 'cyclone/bad weather' ?

Kia Orana rosem, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

Towards January 2013, it is a good idea to start researching some likely predictions for regional weather patterns related to our position within the central Pacific. Be sure to review accurate reflections for this particular area; and not for the western South Pacific where Fiji is situated and unfortunately has borne the brunt of the bad weather this summer season.

Cyclone season for the Cook Islands extends from November through til April. As you will be aware Aitutaki island received the full force of Cyclone Pat early 2010. Rarotonga was subject to 5 cyclonic episodes early in 2005. While the severe storms did keep people indoors on Rarotonga in 2005, with several requiring evacuation inland overnight to planned community-shelters and high places, the situations didn't last long even in the worst case scenario. High seas, strong wind, trees, coconuts and debris flying in the air and around more exposed sites in the path of the storms do occur And of course the 2 streams in the centre of Avarua flood the immediate area with the incoming tide. The really big cyclone for Rarotonga was Sally in December 1986. Big news indeed! But no-one got hurt, and we were all warned that Sally was coming in good time to prepare well.

At this stage I suggest that you begin making plans for your visit early next year, but have a contingency plan in place as well. Take out good travel insurance in the unlikely event that you are caught up in a severe blow over those 3 weeks. If you are planning to stay in private rental accommodation, ensure you know what your hosts will do to assist you and what measures they have in place to deal with these events (torches, radio, matches, alternative shelter, transport etc).

Deciding which part of the island to stay in and Knowing where the locations are for evacuation centres will be especially helpful. Can I assure you that in more recent years our emergency management personnel have beefed up their strategy and tactics to handle major events according to international best practice guidelines. There is very good cross-sectoral co-ordination to handle emergency situations around the Cook group of islands which is reasuring. And NZ is always at the ready to support our country at the earliest.

Who knows? While you may receive glorious beach weather during January, it may turn wet the very day you depart Raro's shores! But do study up on the weather patterns likely to occur for our part of the Pacific in good time to make your travel decisions.

Hope this helps - and feel free to ask lots of questions here and from the locals including your accommodators.

Kia manuia.

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2. Re: How concerned should we be about the 'cyclone/bad weather' ?

Just to ease your mind a little - we have been going to Rarotonga for 10 years and nearly always in January or February or March and we have stayed for around 5 -6 weeks each visit.

Yes we have hit rainy times as it is their rainy season but its warm rain mostly and does come down with short sharp hits and then can be beautiful - sometimes it rains for longer periods but its never cold. We have found that we have less rain the later we go but it is generally so hit and miss especially as the weather globally seems to be so changeable - here in the UK we had unseasonal temperatures of 24C last week and this week down to 3C!!! Shorts and T shirts one week - boots and coats the next!

We goto Raro prepared not so much with wet weather gear but with a pack of cards and a game or twoand plenty of books for the times when the weather stops us getting on to the gorgeous beaches or swimming in the beautiful lagoon.

We have had windy rainy times when a tropical depression is floating about but have not been unlucky enough to hit a proper cyclone. We arrived just after the 5 cyclones hit in 2005 and there was some damage but apparently according to our friends who live on Raro after each cyclone the weather was lovely with blue skies and hot sunshine.

We have also been on the Island when there have been tsunami warnings when earthquakes and events happen in other countries - we were there when something happened in Chile and when the earthquake happened in Japan and there were tsunami warnings across the Pacific Islands which turned into non events.

I must reassure you that the places we stayed and the people on the Islands are well versed with these events and have contingency plans in place and we have always felt safe and well cared for and don't forget these events do not happen every year.

You mustn't let this put you off going to the beautiful islands of the Cooks. We would go back tomorrow come rain or shine and we're planning for February or March 2013 already - nothing would stop us!

candle lake sask
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3. Re: How concerned should we be about the 'cyclone/bad weather' ?

We have spent jan and feb in Raro for the last 16 years and have only experienced severe cyclones once. The island is equipped to handle them and while we felt uncomfortable we were safe. Just follow advice and use common sense. If they were to come to where we live they would be nervous about blizzards too..

Don't miss the pleasure of a safe, friendly and clean island paradise. You will be happy you went and like us will most likely return

4. Re: How concerned should we be about the 'cyclone/bad weather' ?

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