Friday, 17 August, 2018

Tonga braces for Cyclone Gita after storm batters Samoa

Cyclone Gita: NZ and Australia monitor path of storm Large SUPER CYCLONE about to strike Samoa
Kenny Thornton | 12 February, 2018, 09:08

Tonga declared a state of emergency Monday and imposed a curfew in the capital Nuku'alofa as the Pacific island kingdom braced for a direct hit from Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Residents in Tonga are bracing themselves for the impending category 4-strength Cyclone Gita.

Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika issued a nationwide alert, saying he was "satisfied that an emergency is happening or is about to happen".

New Zealand's High Commission in the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa will be closed for the next two days as the cyclone rolls in, with staff and other Kiwis on the island urged to evacuate or seek suitable shelter. Butler added that many people were without clean, running water.

"Very destructive hurricane force winds are expected from this evening", the Tongan weather service said.

Australia and New Zealand are closely monitoring tropical Cyclone Gita, which has caused flooding and wind damage in Samoa and is still building.

On Thursday Weather Watch predicted the cyclone could come to New Zealand and may become a much bigger storm than the recent ex-cyclone Fehi.

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"It's pretty rare to see the flawless circle, the centre of that storm, going right over the top of such a small island".

The Tonga met service said the country should feel the worst of the Cyclone Gita, which is now a category four storm, around midnight.

MetService's Malivuk said most forecast models were suggesting Gita would curve to the southeast, moving over the North Island of New Zealand in the middle of next week.

"Everyone should be mindful of what might cause damage within their homes such as large trees that can potentially damage a house". Gita is now bearing down on Tonga as a category 4 storm.

"We are looking at major structural damage", he warned. It made landfall as a category 3 storm.

Gita was a lesser category 1 cyclone when it passed over Samoa on Saturday, causing widespread flooding and loss of electricity.

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