Category 2 Tropical Cyclone Tomas was located about 405 KM North-North East of Udu Point in Vanua Levu at 7 am Fijian time today.
Close to its centre the cyclone is estimated to have average winds of 100 km per hour and increasing to 155 km per hour with momentary gusts of up to 220 km per hour in the next 18 to 24 hours.
The cyclone is intensifying and moving South-West at 8 km per hour.
Damaging gale force winds extend to about 280 km from the Cyclone Centre. People living in Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby islands and the Northern Lau group should expect winds to strengthen further today and reach damaging gale force by early tomorrow with average speeds of 85 km per hour and momentary gusts of 120 km per hour.
Winds are expected to increase to destructive storm force to very destructive hurricane later tomorrow.
Periods of rain becoming frequent and heavy with squally thunderstorms, damaging heavy swells, and flooding including sea flooding of low lying coastal areas expected.
Nadi Weather Office Director Rajendra Prasad says the whole country will be placed under warning soon.
“And we will be expanding the warning to other parts of the country later in the day and I think by sunset today we will have almost the whole country under warning and that means people should brace fully for a direct hit of this cyclone.”
From the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, this statement has been issued within the last hour….
A Tropical Cyclone WARNING has been issued for the Northern Division and the Northern Lau Group.
The status has been upgraded from cyclone alert to warning by the Nadi Weather Office however they are saying the rest of the country remains on Cyclone ALERT. This can be upgraded to a WARNING as Cyclone TOMAS moves closer to Fiji.
The effects of Tropical Cyclone TOMAS are already being felt in UDU Point in Vanua Levu with strong winds, rough seas and heavy rains being experienced.
Udu’s LAGI Health Centre staff nurse VINI VELAVELA says there was a change in weather yesterday.
“We just made a call to the village in Vunakodi and according to a woman there she said they are experiencing strong winds plus heavy rain and sea too they can see its rough but at Langi we are experiencing strong winds only not heavy rain, we had strong winds last night accompanied by rain but houses here are being shuttered, people are here and come to higher areas and some of them are in the health centre with me.”
Reports from MAGODRO in BA, in the interior of Viti Levu state, the weather there changed dramatically overnight.
Reverend WAISEA RATU says winds were quite strong this morning and dark rain clouds are covering the sky.
From Savusavu, we have received reports of strong winds that have flattened banana trees and have badly shaken some coconut trees. People there are battering down their houses and taking every precautions needed to prepare for the winds.
FIJI BROADCASTING CORP
on 14/03/2010 5:03am
Looks like TC ULiL maybe the one more so watch for. It has rapidly turned into a CAT 5.
May head towards Northland instead of the Queensland coast!
on 14/03/2010 4:33am
On the ECMWF Charts its showing that one of these cyclones directly impacts NZ? Is this prediction correct? It looks like it would cause us a lot of damage if it does impact?
on 14/03/2010 7:33am
Computer models often chop and change quite wildly more than 3 days out. At this stage one computer models shows a "cyclone" over Northland in 7 days time while other computer data that WeatherWatch uses says a "zero percent chance of rain"! So that’s why we need to wait for at least 4 to 6 sweeps of the computer models to get a better idea (that’s about 2 or 3 days worth).
It certainly has the potential to be a devastating cyclone for a number of places (overseas) so we’ll be monitoring it closely.
on 13/03/2010 11:52pm
Hi I was wondering if you could tell me whether the cyclone will be well gone by the 21 march in Fiji please? We are due to fly there next Sunday. Also is it likely to hit the islands?
on 14/03/2010 1:07am
At this stage Cyclone Tomas should be well and truly gone however there are more disturbances that are being closely monitored. The current warning in place have been extended for more regions of Fiji.
Our advice is to watch reports over the next couple of days before you make a decision.