Fiji Time: 1:30 PM on Wednesday 21 February

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Gita threat

Shayal Devi
Monday, February 12, 2018

TROPICAL Cyclone Gita has been projected to enter Fiji waters by tonight, prompting the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) to issue a tropical cyclone alert for Ono-i-Lau, Vatoa, Fulaga and nearby small islands.

The Category 3 system is expected to track towards southern Tonga and the southern Lau Group.

FMS director Ravind Kumar said TC Gita was expected to intensify into a Category 4 system in the next 18 to 24 hours.

At 12 midday yesterday, it was located about 1090 kilometres east of Ono-i-Lau.

"Severe TC Gita is moving south-southeast at about 20 kilometres per hour and is expected to turn southwestward to track towards southern Tonga and southern Lau Group," he said.

"It is expected to further intensify into a Category 4 system in the next 18 to 24 hours.

"On its projected path, Severe TC Gita is anticipated to affect southern Tonga and enter Fiji waters on Monday night (tonight) and pass south of Ono-i-Lau as a Category 4 system on Tuesday night (tomorrow)."

Mr Kumar said strong wind could possibly expand to the whole of Fiji while damaging gale force to storm force wind could expand to the eastern and southern parts of Fiji as TC Gita tracked closer to the southern Lau Group.

"Therefore, a tropical cyclone alert is now in force for Ono-i-Lau, Vatoa, Fulaga and nearby small islands to allow at least 36 to 48 hours before the onset of damaging gale force wind.

"The onset of damaging gale force wind can be for several hours before the cyclone centre passes and may persist several hours after the centre has actually passed.

"Expect cloudiness and rain increasing, becoming frequent and heavy with squally thunderstorms from Tuesday."

Seas are expected to become rough to very rough, with damaging heavy swells likely and sea flooding of low-lying coastal areas expected.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 08F presently lies to the northeast and continues to move further away from the group.

Mr Kumar said this had caused heavy rains to ease and all warnings associated with the system to be cancelled.

"A strong wind warning still remains in force for Rotuma waters.

"For the rest of Fiji, expect moderate southeast to southwest wind today and tomorrow, gradually increasing to strong with average speeds of 45km/hr and gusting to 75km/hr from Tuesday onwards."

He said while the movement and intensity of TC Gita might change by the time the system draws closer to Fiji, the system was being closely monitored and the projected path would be adjusted as new information came to hand.

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