THE national weather office has warned that a tropical disturbance was located 850kilometres west-northwest of Rotuma at 3pm yesterday.
As our report on Page 5 today reveals, it is anticipated to intensify into a tropical cyclone by Wednesday evening.
An advisory issued by the Fiji Meteorological Service stated Tropical Disturbance 09F analysed on Sunday was found to be slow moving.
FMS director Ravind Kumar said in the past 24 hours as of yesterday, the system had remained slow moving.
He said the system was expected to gradually move southwards and intensify into a tropical depression by today and was anticipated to further intensify into a tropical cyclone by tomorrow.
He said it had the potential to develop rapidly "as it is currently in favourable environmental conditions and over the warm ocean".
The sea surface temperature of the system, he said, was about 30 degrees Celsius.
He said the system was anticipated "to track southeastward at first and later turn southwest towards Vanuatu".
It poses no direct threat to Fiji at this stage, he said, and was anticipated to pass towards the west of Fiji later in the week.
Associated rain, however, and strong gusty winds are expected to spread over the country from tomorrow.
Understandably, there will be scepticism in the wake of fine and clear days experienced recently.
But there is a saying, "calm before the storm". It pays to take heed of advice and warnings.
It is imperative that there is a concerted effort to be proactive and make arrangements in the event there is a sudden change in the weather system.
It is in our best interest that appropriate action is taken to safeguard property, livestock, and our lives.
It is important that we are always on the side of caution.
The report by the weather office is apt warning. It should be treated with some degree of respect.
There is safety in being prepared.
Weather warnings must be heeded.
As much as we would want to shrug aside any thoughts of bad weather looming, perhaps we should consider the fact that the weather office is simply fulfilling its role in ensuring relevant information is disseminated to the masses. And we will ignore that at our own risk.
It also means we have been given enough time to consider appropriate action to stay safe.
Let us be vigilant. Let's pay attention.