French Polynesia experiences severe weather, including:
The High Commission of France in French Polynesia has procedures for natural disasters.
Check the High Commission of France in French Polynesia (French) for news and weather updates.
If there’s an emergency, the High Commission of France will open a hotline (French). Call (+689) 40 44 42 10 for information.
Check weather reports regularly during your stay. Be prepared to change your plans if you need to.
If there’s a natural disaster:
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof place
- monitor local media
- monitor sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
- follow the advice of local authorities
- keep in touch with your friends and family
- ask your tour operator if tourist services at your destination are affected
Cyclone season is November to April. However, tropical storms and cyclones may occur at any time of year.
Severe weather can bring:
- disruptions to infrastructure
- breaks in essential services
The direction and strength of tropical cyclones can change with little warning.
If there’s a cyclone or severe tropical storm:
- you may get stuck in the area
- flights could be delayed or suspended
- available flights may fill quickly
- ports may close
- adequate shelter may not be available
French Polynesia has a cyclone alert system with 6 levels:
- Yellow: potential cyclone activity in the next 72 hours – follow weather forecasts and bulletins
- Orange: potential cyclone activity in the next 48 hours – prepare for a cyclone
- Red: the cyclone is imminent — in the next 12 to 18 hours – protect yourself and stay indoors
- Red: during the cyclone – protect yourself and stay indoors
- Purple: safeguard phase – damage and risks (electrical cables, etc.) are being assessed – remain alert
- Green: end of cyclone alert
Learn about the alert system and recommended responses on the website of the High Commission of France website (French) and from their Cyclone Alert brochure (French).
If a cyclone is approaching:
Once the Safeguard Phase is announced:
- take care leaving your shelter
- look out for debris
- avoid fallen electrical wires
Earthquakes sometimes happen.
Ask your host or hotel about local procedures and what to do during an earthquake.
If there’s an earthquake:
After an earthquake:
- expect aftershocks
- be prepared for delays and changes to your travel plans
- ask your travel agent and tour operators to confirm travel services and accommodation bookings
Tsunamis may occur, so stay alert for warnings.
A tsunami can arrive within minutes of a tremor or earthquake. Get updates from the U.S. Tsunami Warning System.
French Polynesia has 2 types of evacuation:
- immediate — for a tsunami from Tonga which could arrive in 1 hour
- staged — for a tsunami from South America or Alaska that could arrive in 8 hours
If you’re near the coast, move immediately to high ground if advised by local authorities or if you:
- feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
- feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
- see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
- hear loud and unusual noises from the sea
Don’t wait for official warnings such as alarms or sirens.
Once on high ground, monitor local media.
To prepare yourself for earthquakes and tsunamis you can:
subscribe to tsunami alerts from the Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination system
get earthquake updates from the US Geological Service
get tsunami updates from the U.S. Tsunami Warning System