People living on Islands in the Southern Lau Group have been warned to prepare for the worst as Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita heads towards Fiji.
The tropical cyclone has a potential to intensify and could become as strong as Severe TC Winston.
Director Meteorology Ravind Kumar said that TC Gita could develop into a Category 5 Cyclone.
“On its projected path, TC Gita is anticipated to affect Southern Tonga and is expected to enter Fiji waters tomorrow (today) morning and pass close to Ono-i-Lau possibly as a Cat 5 system on Tuesday evening or night,” he said.
“Strong winds can possibly expand to the whole of Fiji while the damaging gale force to storm force winds can expand to over eastern and southern parts of Fiji as TC Gita comes closer to the Southern Lau Group.”
At 3pm yesterday TC Gita was located near 21.7 degrees south latitude and 172.6 degrees west longitude or 650km east of Ono-Lau or 1000 km east – southeast of Kadavu.
He added it is expected to intensify into a Category 5 system over open waters southwest of Fua’amotu.
TC Gita is moving west at about 24 km/hr and expected to continue on this track for the next 24 to 72 hours.
Warning in force
A hurricane warning remains in force for Ono-I-Lau and Vatoa.
Winds strengthening to destructive hurricane force with an average speed of 165 km/hr and momentary gusts of up to 230 km/hr are expected from this morning. Damaging heavy swells developing with very likely sea flooding of low lying areas, Mr Kumar said.
The storm warning remains in force for rest of the Southern Lau group.
- The Weather office has advised all communities to be vigilant.
- Remain updated with the latest weather information and take alerts, warnings and advisories seriously.
- Keep listening to the radio for the latest weather updates
- Take advice from the National Disaster Management Office and remain prepared at all times.