29 Dec 2008

Marshalls' met office on alert for more tidal surges after floods

4:17 pm on 29 December 2008

The Marshall Islands Chief meteorologist, Reginald White, says it's difficult to predict whether the region could be hit again in coming months by devastating tidal surges.

A state of emergency has been declared in the country in the wake of this month's flooding that displaced at least 600 islanders and damaged dozens of homes in the two urban centres.

The Marshalls was pounded on three separate days by high waves caused by storm surges that coincided with high tides.

The high tides were significantly lower at just over five feet than peak high tides which often reach six or seven feet in February and March.

Mr White says they will be on alert for low pressure systems during the peak high tides.

"Without big swells coming from offshore or faraway storms, we usually are okay. We get a little bit of inundation here and there. It's the combination, of high tides and storm surges, that overwhelm us."

Reginald White