Fiji Time: 6:27 AM on Sunday 29 November

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'Real threat'

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

THE slow moving nature of a depression located about 670 kilometres northwest of Fiji yesterday afternoon and the possibility of it developing into a tropical cyclone pose a real threat to the country.

Fiji Meteorological Service director Alipate Waqaicelua said the system was intensifying as it moved closer to the Fiji Group.

"It's certainly going to get worse as it moves closer to us," he said.

"The strong winds and rough seas being experienced in some parts of the group will get worse as the system intensifies. It will cause heavy swells all over Fiji and apart from the associated heavy rain, strong winds and possible flooding â€" the conditions are conducive to the system developing into a tropical cyclone by Friday or Saturday."

Mr Waqaicelua said with the information available to the Fiji Met Service, indications were that should the system develop into a cyclone, it could be a category one storm.

"The biggest issue with this system is that it will anchor itself over the country and linger for a couple of days."

Meanwhile, Airports Fiji Limited management held talks with the Fiji Met Service yesterday afternoon to discuss what contingency measures would be put in place if the situation deteriorated.

Hotels and resorts in the country also began preparations for the incoming storm.

Fiji Hotels and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto said most properties had stocked up on supplies, water and fuel for generators in anticipation of the inclement weather.

"The management at most resorts have briefed their staff about the expected weather conditions and measures are being put in place to ensure that any type of change in weather does not affect guests or the safety of staff," he said.

Sugarcane growers in the Western Division were asked to prepare their farms by clearing drains of debris and securing machinery and property.

"We were expecting a good crop this season and we are asking growers to ensure all drains are clear so that it reduces the amount of stagnant water in cane fields," said Sugar Cane Growers Council CEO Sundresh Chetty.

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