Fiji’s Northern division should brace themselves for strong winds and heavy rain.
Fiji Meterological Services Senior Forecaster – Stephen Meke says Tropical Cyclone Ella is moving closer to the group and intensifying.
“The location, it’s center is about 365km east north east of Cikobia as of midday today and the Cyclone is a category 2 system and it’s gradually intensifying and it’s at the moment moving west, north west. We expect it to move towards the Northern parts of the group to Vanualevu in the next couple of days, for tonight as it approaches, we expect rain over the Northern parts of Fiji, that’s Vanuabalavu as well as Vanualevu and Taveuni.
The winds are expected to pick up as well, we expect some strong and gusty winds over Vanualevu and Vanuabalavu from tonight and winds might increase to damaging gale force, even to storm, to destructive storm winds coming in the weekend,” said Meke.
Meanwhile, families still living in tents after TC Winston have been advised to move to the nearest evacuation centre, as Cyclone Ella slowly moves towards Vanua Levu.
Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea says this applies to families in the worst affected areas of Vanua Levu, mainly Bua, Taveuni and Savusavu.
“They have been asked to move to the evacuation centres. That’s the strong message that I have passed to the Provincial Administrators and District Officers, to go to the villages and settlements where people are still staying in tents to move to the nearest evacuation centre. Don’t wait for tomorrow. From today, they should start moving.”
The North Emergency Operation Centre has been activated.
Vocea has also directed the offices of the Provincial Administrators in Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata to monitor the situation on the ground.
Vocea says they are working with the respective government ministries and departments regarding operations during this time.
TC Ella is packing winds of about 50 knots or 93km/ph at its centre.
The Cyclone is estimated to have momentary gusts of 130km/ph.
For Lau and Lomaiviti Group, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands expect strong Southeast winds with average speeds of 45 km/hr with gusts to 80 km/hr – expected to increase further to damaging gale.
Force winds of 85om/hr with gusts to 110km/hr from later tomorrow.
Occasional showers and few thunderstorms. Showers expected to increase to rain and become frequent and heavy with thunderstorms from later tomorrow. [/restrict]