Weather

TC Winston is now Category 5

Authorities have advised the nation to take necessary precautions, as experts warn Tropical Cyclone Winston is potentially one of the most destructive cyclones in recent times. The Fiji Meteorological Service has confirmed TC Winston is now a CATEGORY 5 cyclone. The latest weather bulletin was issued at 3.49 am on Saturday 20/02: SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE […]

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February 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Authorities have advised the nation to take necessary precautions, as experts warn Tropical Cyclone Winston is potentially one of the most destructive cyclones in recent times.

The Fiji Meteorological Service has confirmed TC Winston is now a CATEGORY 5 cyclone.

The latest weather bulletin was issued at 3.49 am on Saturday 20/02:

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE WINSTON CENTRE CATEGORY 5 WAS LOCATED ABOUT 390KM EAST-NORTHEAST OF SUVA AT 3AM TODAY. THE CYCLONE IS MOVING WEST AT ABOUT 22KM/HR.

ON THIS TRACK, THE CYCLONE IS EXPECTED TO BE LOCATED ABOUT 200KM NORTHEAST OF SUVA AT 3PM TODAY AND ABOUT 90KM NORTH-NORTHEAST OF SUVA AT 3AM TOMORROW.

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Director of National Disaster Management, Mr. Akapusi Tuifagalele said those in the islands and communities needed to be prepared.

It is important to warn the nation that this is a big one not a small one and something similar perhaps to what hit Vanuatu last year (Cyclone Pam).

Director National Disaster Management Office, Mr. Akapusi Tuifagalele. Source: Peni Shute / Newswire.
Director National Disaster Management Office, Mr. Akapusi Tuifagalele at a press conference this afternoon.  Source: Peni Shute / Newswire.

Director Tuifagalele said there was a high possibility for those living in the coastal areas to expect storm surges and tidal waves.

For people living in coastal areas there should be expectation of storm surges and tidal waves to actually sweep some of our coastal areas for those are habitual in this type of events should be prepared while still on daylight for preparation to move.

Tropical Cyclone Winston is making a turnaround from Tonga and is heading back to Fiji. On that line the National Disaster Management Office on behalf of government is to warn the nation and to alert the nation on the upcoming disaster cyclone system that is moving towards Fiji.

The Director encourages the people of Fiji to make use of the remaining daylight today to prepare for Tropical Winston as it approaches.

The Tropical Cyclone Winston is gathering intensity and don’t be surprised if by tomorrow it has been named as a Category 5 cyclone.

We should not be complacent by now we still have a few hours before daylight, it’s high time if there are people who are still not prepared, this is the time to be prepared.

He said this will be a challenging weekend for many as heavy rains are expected.

Fishermen are being advised not to go out fishing. Tuifagalele also sends out a precaution to fishermen to move their fishing boats and punts to shore.

The Fiji Metrological service said Tropical Cyclone Winston, a Category 4 system continues to intensify with sustained winds of 100knots(185km/hr) close to the centre.

On its projected track TC Winston is expected to enter Fiji from the Lau waters from tomorrow, then sail across the Lomaiviti group then onto Kadavu.

As such, a Tropical Cyclone warning has been issued for the Lau group, and a Tropical Cyclone alert is in force for the Lomaiviti group, Kadavu, Taveuni and the nearby smaller islands and also the Eastern part of Viti Levu. It should be noted that that the areas above which are currently on Tropical cyclone alert are expected to be upgraded to Tropical cyclone warning by midday today as TC Winston draws near.

The Fiji Met Office said members of the public should expect winds to become strong overnight tonight and to increase further to damaging gale force with average speeds of 75km/hr and momentary gusts to 100km/hr from tomorrow. Winds may increase further as tropical cyclone Winston draws near to Fiji. Rain will become frequent from tomorrow.

From NaDraki:

Winston has the potential to be as destructive as any cyclone experienced anywhere in Fiji in recent times. The fact that the cyclone is approaching from the east makes it especially dangerous. The threat posed by severe TC Winston to Fiji is very great and very real. Heavy rain, dangerous storm surges and very destructive storm to hurricane force winds are forecast to affect the Suva region. You should be enacting your tropical cyclone preparation plan at this time.

On the current forecast track the eye of TC Winston will enter Fiji territorial waters late Saturday morning and pass close to Lakeba island in the late afternoon Saturday. The cyclone will continue across central Lau and Lomaiviti towards Viti Levu Saturday night, and at this time best indications are that the centre of the cyclone will pass just south of Suva and north of Kadavu around noon on Sunday plus or minus a few hours.

The Central and Eastern Divisions and also Taveuni, southern Vanua Levu and nearby smaller islands can expect overcast skies with occasional passing showers. A few heavy falls about the Lau group today with fresh to strong and gusty south to south-easterly winds increasing gale force of the Lau group tonight and over Lomaiviti, Kadavu and eastern Viti Levu from midday tomorrow. Showers tending to rain tonight with occasional heavy falls and local flash flooding from tomorrow morning. Seas extremely rough with heavy south-easterly swells developing. Coastal inundation along coastal communities is likely.

This will be perhaps one of the strongest cyclones to affect the central division for many years, and should the eye of the cyclone pass over or near to Suva, damage is likely to be very extensive and flash flooding and downed powerlines may affect water and electricity supply.

Please ensure you have an option for evacuation, especially if you are in low lying areas subject to flooding. Listen for local weather updates and warnings from the local authorities. As always, you should heed the advice of the DISMAC office and their rural officers, the offices of the district commissioners, and also the Police.

Members of the public are advised to take every precautionary measure possible in preparation for Tropical Cyclone Winston. Please stay tuned to the radio, TV and Newswire for more updates on TC Winston.

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