Tropical Depression 04F (2009)
|Tropical depression (Aus scale)|
|Formed||January 4, 2009|
|Dissipated||January 12, 2009|
|Highest winds||10-minute sustained: 55 km/h (35 mph)
Gusts: 110 km/h (70 mph)
|Lowest pressure||994 hPa (mbar); 29.35 inHg|
|Damage||$45 million (2009 USD)|
|Areas affected||Ba, Nadi, Rakiraki, Labasa, Sigatoka|
|Part of the 2008–09 South Pacific cyclone season|
Tropical Depression 04F was the first tropical depression to affect Fiji since Cyclone Gene made landfall on the country during January 2008. The depression formed late on January 4, 2009 as a weak tropical disturbance near the eastern edge of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) in Nadi responsibility. The disturbance then rapidly organised itself sufficiently to be classified as Tropical Depression 04F early the next morning. Over the next couple of days the depression moved towards the southeast, before on January 8 it started to bring heavy rainfall to Fiji. RSMC Nadi then issued their final advisory on it later that day, as it was then an extratropical depression. However, late the next day RSMC Nadi started to reissue advisories on the depression and immediately passed primary warning responsibility for it to the Tropical Cyclone Warning Center in Wellington, who issued warnings on the depression until early on January 12 when they issued their last advisory.
On January 4, 2009, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre in Nadi, Fiji, reported that a weak tropical disturbance had formed within the Coral Sea, to the east of Vanuatu. At this time the disturbance had a circulation that was located within an environment which had low levels of vertical wind shear. Convection had been present within the circulation for at least 12 hours, however it was poorly organised at this time. Early on January 5, RSMC Nadi reported that the disturbance had organised itself sufficiently to be classified as a tropical depression, and assigned the designation of 04F. At this time convection was displaced to the north of the low level circulation center. The next morning RSMC Nadi reported that the depression's low level circulation center was exposed with deep convection being disorganised.
Early on January 7, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that the depression had a broad low level circulation center which had disorgainised deep convection. They also reported that the depression lay in an area of moderate to strong vertical wind shear and thus was not expected to develop. Early the next day the JTWC declared that the depression had dissipated. Later that day RSMC Nadi reported that the tropical depression lay in an area of moderately sheared environment with deep convection being to the east of the low level Circulation Center. They also downgraded it to a depression at this time which meant that the depression had some extra-tropical characteristics. At this time as the depression was starting to brush by Fiji, RSMC Nadi released their final advisory on Tropical Depression 04F. The next day RSMC Nadi started to reissue advisories on Depression 04F, as the depression had reorganised itself, and had reached its peak winds of 75 km/h (45 mph), with a peak pressure of 994 hPa. They then transferred primary warning responsibility of 04F to the Tropical Cyclone Warning Center (TCWC) in Wellington, New Zealand. Over the next couple of days the depression moved towards the southwest, before TCWC Wellington issued their final advisory on the depression on January 12.
Preparations and impact
The 2009 Fiji floods occurred on January 10, 2009, and the following days after Tropical Depression 04F hit the western section of the island of Viti Levu in Fiji. This area is ordinarily the "dry" side of the island. The floods left eleven people dead, including three teenagers, with six drowning in the flood waters, and a landslide killing another two. In some areas, flood waters reached heights of up to 3 meters.
Tropical Depression 04F brought heavy rainfall to the Northern, Central and Western divisions of Fiji from January 8 until January 10. There was a total of eleven people killed within Fiji whilst over 6,000 people were displaced and went to 114 emergency shelters, and were given "meals...biscuits, milk and other dry stock." In addition, power and telephone lines have been downed, and many roads were rendered impassable. Sugarcane, an important crop in the affected region, was heavily destroyed. Frank Bainimarama, the interim Prime Minister, declared a state of emergency, and said that the government is working diligently to assist in relief efforts. Because of the state of emergency, there are mandatory curfews in several large towns to prevent looting.
Aftermath and response
Australia donated approximately three million Australian Dollars to the Relief fund. This was made up of $1,000,000 (US$500,000) for immediate assistance and 2,000,000 (US$1,000,000) for long-term assistance. AusAID also donated just under 390,000 FJD (200,000 USD) to assist with the repairs to school infrastructure and the provision of resources to flood-affected schools. New Zealand also donated near four million New Zealand dollars to the relief fund. This was made up of 3 million dollars for long term recovery and 80,000 for the educational needs of people in the areas that were hardest hit by the depression. The European Union also donated over $2 million Fiji dollars (FJD), (One million USD), which was also for rehabilitation of schools as well as paying of some of the fees that students are required to pay. The Governments of the United Kingdom, China, France, Tonga, Korea and Samoa each contributed money to the relief fund totaling up to 286,000 FJD (152,000 USD). Whilst the governments of Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and India pledged over $700,000 USD to the relief effort and for reconstruction efforts. The Us Embassy and the China Red Cross also donated just under 120,000FJD worth of goods for relief efforts.
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|Wikinews has related news: Eight killed by flooding in Fiji|