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Fiji Time: 12:50 PM on Friday 25 April

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Cyclone follows

Felix Chaudhary
Monday, April 02, 2012

PEOPLE living in the Western Division are being urged to secure their homes, stock up supplies and store water as a tropical cyclone alert was issued yesterday afternoon.

The National Weather Forecasting Centre in Nadi issued a tropical cyclone alert at 3pm yesterday, saying a tropical depression was located 1200 kilometres west northwest of the Fiji Group.

As the depression nears the country, winds are expected to intensify from average speeds of 40 to 55 kilometres an hour and momentary gusts to 85km/h, possibly increasing to damaging gale force winds with average speeds of 65km/h and momentary gusts of 110km/h.

The weather office also reinstated a severe flood warning for major rivers, streams and low-lying areas in the Western Division. This, after the cancellation of the advisory at 3pm yesterday afternoon.

Squally thunderstorms and incessant rainfall, heavy at times, is now forecast to continue well into next week while a strong wind warning remains in force for land areas in the country with north to north west with average speeds of 40-55km/hour and momentary gusts to 85km/h.

As the tropical depression, which brought heavy rainfall and strong winds, moves away from the Fiji Group, a second depression which is forming into a cyclone entered the group yesterday afternoon with another depression following close on its heels.

This has prompted authorities to re-issue warnings to people in the Western Division to stay away from waterways, secure homes, stock up on supplies and collect rainwater by whatever means possible.

Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said because of extensive damage to infrastructure and intakes and flooding of pumps and other equipment the Water Authority of Fiji is finding great difficulty in repairing damage to pipe systems and restoring supply.

"This is why we are asking people to please use whatever means necessary to collect rainwater because it is the safest option over other sources.

"Please do not wait for the water to come to you, resources are stretched due to the high number of evacuees and inaccessibility to some areas. Take the initiative and collect rainwater until normal supply is restored," he said