Unpredictable track for TC Ella as Vanua Levu may be spared a direct hit

Tropical Cyclone Ella has moved further north Thursday afternoon and may not move over Vanua Levu as earlier forecasted.

Staff Writers

May 11, 2017 10:17 pm

Update 10.00AM May 12: TC Ella is weakening and is expected to become a category one system as it moves away from Fiji.  However, warnings and alerts issued by Fiji MET still remain.

However, the Fiji Meteorological Service said the forecast path was only an estimate, and there was always some uncertainty associated with tropical cyclone forecasting.

TC Ella forecast track map released at 7.30 pm on Thursday. (Fiji MET).
TC Ella forecast track map released at 7.30 pm on Thursday. (Fiji MET).

On this track, it is expected to lie about 180 km north- northeast of Udu Point at mid-day on Friday. It is anticipated to remain a category two in the next 24 hours and intensify into a category three on Friday night.

The following emergency phone numbers were released by DISMAC this afternoon:

  • National Emergency Operation Center: 3319250
  • Western Divisional Emergency Operation Center: 6281553
  • Central Divisional Emergency Operation Center: 3683250/3477000
  • Northern Divisional Emergency Operation Center: 8280350
  • Eastern Divisional Emergency Operation Center: 7848858

People on the island of Vanuabalavu started experiencing high winds and recurrent rainfall just after midday Thursday.

The Northern Emergency Operation Centre wash activated Thursday with officials monitoring weather conditions. The Commissioner Northern said evacuation centres were ready to accept the general public.

The agriculture ministry has advised farmers who reside in flood prone areas to move their animals, machinery and farm implement to hight grounds and secure their livestock sheds.

The Water Authority of Fiji said the emergency staff were on standby in case of water cuts, with generator systems available in the event of power failure.

Schools in the Lau Group, northern Vanua Levu and Taveuni have been directed to close, with the education ministry advising other school heads to keep monitoring weather reports and make decisions on school closures accordingly.

The Fiji Football Association has postponed the Fiji FACT tournament, which was scheduled to begin tomorrow at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori. The Fiji Rugby Union has also called off Skipper Cup games scheduled for Saturday until next week.

Fane Boseiwaqa (femLINK) is based in Tavua and stressed the need to access to correct information – a challenge with TC Ella’s patterns frequently changing in the last 24 hours. Boseiwaqa said that women were taking to social and online media to keep track of the cyclone developments.

TC Ella was located 390km northeast of Udu Point at 3 pm this afternoon and is currently moving west at about 15km/hr.

Close to its centre, TC Ella is expected to have average winds of up to 95 km/hr with momentary gusts up to 130 km/hr.

A Tropical Cyclone Warning is in force for the Northern part of the Fiji group, with a gale warning in force for Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller Islands.

A strong wind warning remains in force for Lau and Lomaiviti group and the eastern part of Viti Levu. Expect strong south-east winds with an average speed of 45km/hr, gusting to 80km/hr. For the rest of Fiji, expect moderate to fresh southeasterly winds.

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