Fiji records a new high in single-day rainfall

Fiji recorded its highest daily rainfall in January this year following 22 hours of continuous rain as Tropical Cyclone Cody passed through the country.

The Fiji Meteorological Office said that between 9 am 8 January 2022 and 9 am 9 January 2022, a total of 524.5mm of rainfall was recorded by a tipping bucket (TB3) rain gauge at an automated weather station (AWS) in Nadarivatu, Ba.

“This new rainfall record is the highest ever recorded by a tipping bucket rain gauge since the installation of this type of rainfall measuring instrument in Fiji in 2008,” the Fiji Weather Office said.

The previous highest daily rainfall was 506mm which was also recorded at Nadarivatu AWS on 28 January 2021.

The weather office said it used several methods to verify figures.

“Data obtained from the rain gauge showed that there were 22 hours of continuous rainfall from 9 am 8th January to 7 am 9th January in which one of the 10-minute rainfall measurements even recorded up to 12mm. Heavy flow of water and increased water-level at the Nadarivatu Dam which is not very far away from the Nadarivatu AWS was also an indication of very high rainfall rates,” the weather office said.

 “In addition, the rainfall record was also verified using the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Real-time Rainfall Watch website for real-time rainfall monitoring and the satellite images confirmed that a very high reflectivity spiral rain band- likely producing heavy rain- was present over the Nadarivatu area for a long time.”

During the same period, Lodoni AWS recorded 388.0mm, Monsavu AWS- 215.5mm, Penang Mill- 283.0mm, and Dobuilevu AWS- 248.0mm.

Fiji has a total of 16 tipping bucket rain gauges installed in various locations around the country. These rain gauges were supplied by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research or NIWA. The installations of the rain gauges were funded through the government’s Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

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