Weather alert

Fiji Meteorological Services director Ravind Kumar explains the projected path of the cyclone during the media briefing in Nadi yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Fiji Meteorological Services director Ravind Kumar. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

EXPECT heavy rain and strong winds in the coming days as a tropical depression located to the west of Fiji shows signs of intensifying into a Category 1 Tropical Cyclone in the next 18 to 36 hours.

Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) director Ravind Kumar said TD12F was located 365 kilometres west of Nadi at 3pm yesterday.

As it tracks east southeast at 5 kilometres per hour, it is likely to keep intensifying and pass southwest of the Fiji Group.

Mr Kumar said the system could bring gales with average winds of 65km per hr momentarily gusting to 90km per hr.

Gale warnings are in force for Yasawa, Mamanucas, Viti Levu, Kadavu and nearby small islands, Lau and Lomaiviti. At this stage, Mr Kumar said, the system could either move northwards or southwards.

“There is a possibility the system may lag on its current track or be faster if it picks up speed,” he said.

He said the system was forecasted to gain Category 1 status by midday today. However, it could also have intensified yesterday depending on its rate of development.

Those living in low-lying areas have also been advised to remain vigilant. All rivers in the Western Division also stand a high chance of flooding nearby vicinities.

“Our advice to the public is to be prepared for damaging winds.

There is a risk of infrastructure and agriculture damage, loose objects can fly around and momentary gusts can break tree branches.

“There is a high chance of flooding, especially in the Western and Southern parts of the country.

There is more rain predicted so people living in landslide and mudslide prone areas are also requested to remain vigilant.”

Coastal communities can also experience sea flooding.

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