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Tuesday, 16th July  2019 8:22:pm

cycloneThe Eye of a HurricaneThe Cook Islands weather is typically tropical to sub-tropical with just two seasons...dry and wet. There's actually not much difference between the two. In the Northern Cooks Islands, temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year, while in the Southern Cooks (including Rarotonga and Aitutaki) there is a difference of around 4°C between the warmer and cooler months. Mangaia in the south is the coolest island; Penrhyn and Rakahanga in the North are the hottest as they're closer to the equator (typically 5-7 degrees Celsius warmer than Rarotonga).
The wet season begins in late November and lasts until April or May, and sometimes longer in the Southern Cooks.. November to March is also the cyclone (hurricane) season. It can become hot and humid (29 degrees celcius/84 fahrenheit by day) with bright sunny mornings and late afternoon downpours around Rarotonga. As the heat accumulates over the Pacific Ocean during this season, depressions can form bringing with them thunderstorms, strong winds and the occasional tropical cyclone. According to the national newspaper, The Cook Islands News: "on Rarotonga we judge how hot the weather is by checking how much the tar seal on the roads has melted!"
July is "midwinter" and the average daily temperature is 25 degrees celcius/77 fahrenheit. This drops to around 19 degrees celcius/66 fahrenheit at night. And on really cold nights, it can fall as low as 14 celcius/57 fahrenheit! The lowest winter temperature on record was in 1965 when the thermometer fell to just over 9 degrees C (48F)!!!
Cyclones (elsewhere called hurricanes or typhoons) are a fact of life in this part of the world. The cyclone season in the Cooks runs from November to the end of March, and at worst they can bring winds around 200kph (124mph), very stormy seas, flooding and extensive damage. But the extreme ones are relatively rare. A Canadian professor who studied their history says that between 1820 and 2006 they averaged less than one a season. And 29% per cent occur in February. The most recent serious one was Cyclone Pat which hit Aitutaki in 2010. And the worst cyclone season in living memory was in 2005 when five cyclones struck within five weeks. According to the Director of the local met office, the average is 1.1 a year.

Aitutaki Lagoon