Cyclone Mick is the story of the day here in Fiji today.
Although it's currently classified as a strong Category One storm, you wouldn't be able to tell from the abundance of rumours about the cyclone making their way through the coconut wireless in Suva. Official communication is so poor (outside of the trusty radio) that these rumours are able to flourish.
Many people have noticed what is clearly a publishing problem on the MET.GOV.FJ website. At a time where people around the world are clamoring for accurate weather information, this is definitely an issue. I've seen multiple references to this error on a number of Facebook pages and Twitter postings. If you haven't seen it, the "latest updates" page is serving up the following information and has been for at least the past 5 hours or so...
It's up to the reader to figure out exactly what this message means. I'm fairly technically proficient but I'm at a loss and would even be happy settling for a non-current edition of that product just so I can find out what the friggin' forecast is.
Incredibly, perhaps, is that a more disappointing page appears elsewhere on their site. When following links to the latest Cyclone updates, I found this gem:
Just to be perfectly clear, this page on Fiji's national weather service website, states that there are no cyclones around.
The fault here lies not with the weather office but likely with some other department in the folds of Fiji's government. The weather office's job is NOT to make sure they have a functioning website...in fact, I'd like them to be spending all their time on weather-related analysis, not dicking around with a website which clearly does not suit either the publishing requirements of their office or the information consumption requirements of an increasingly nervous public.
Their lack of attention to the importance of the communication channel is what needs to change.
Be safe, Fiji...
[For anyone interested in following the storm, will keep posts going via my TWITTER feed.]
Some RAW video before the power went out is below...no, no cyclones here.