Feb 21

Fiji Meteorological Service: SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE – WINSTON (CAT5)

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Colourised Infrared satellite imagery at 1:30pm on Saturday 20th February, 2016. (The darker red is indicative of areas of heavy rainfall in a rain band).

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston continues to move westward as a Category 5 system and expected to further intensify. It was located between Koro Island and Vanua-Levu at midday today. Destructive winds have started to affect parts of the country and are expected to spread to the other parts of the country later today. As such, the following warnings remain current:

A Hurricane Warning remains in force for Vanua-Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, Northern half of Viti-Levu, Ovalau, Gau, Batiki, Nairai, Koro, Vanuabalavu, Yacata, Mago,Cicia, Tuvuca, Nayau and Vanuavatu.

A Storm Warning remains in force for Lakeba, Oneata, Moce, Komo,Namuka, Ogea, Moala, Southern half of Viti Levu, Yasawa and Mamanuca Group.

A Gale Warning remains in force for the rest of Fiji.

A Damaging Heavy Swell Warning remains in force for low lying coastal areas of Fiji.

A Heavy Rain Warning remains in force for Fiji.

At 1pm today, Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston (917hPa) Category 5 was located near 17.1 degree South latitude and 179.7 degree East longitude or about 50km southwest of Taveuni or about 175km northeast of Suva at 1pm today. It is currently moving west at 25km/hr (about 14knots). Close to its centre, the cyclone is estimated to have average winds of 230 km/hr (about 125 knots) with momentary gusts up to 325 km/hr (about 175 knots).

On its projected track, Severe TC Winston is expected to maintain its Category 5 intensity and anticipated to take a southward turn when located west of Nadi on Monday. It is forecasted to continue moving westward and lie about 65km southeast of Yasawa-i-Rara or about 80km northeast of Nadi at 1am tomorrow and about 140km west-northwest of Yasawa-i-Rara or about 100km west-northwest of Nadi at 1pm tomorrow.

Very Destructive winds may begin several hours before the cyclone centre passes over head or nearby.

For Vanua-Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, Northern half of Viti-Levu, Ovalau, Gau, Batiki, Nairai, Koro, Vanuabalavu, Yacata, Mago,Cicia, Tuvuca, Nayau and Vanuavatu: Expect Destructive hurricane force winds with average speeds of 220km/hr and momentary gusts to 315km/hr. Heavy rain and squally thunderstorms. Damaging heavy swells. Flooding including sea flooding of low lying coastal areas.

For Lakeba, Oneata, Moce, Komo,Namuka, Ogea, Moala, Southern half of Viti Levu, Yasawa and Mamanuca Group: Expect Storm force winds with average speed of 110km/hr and momentary gusts of 155km/hr. Heavy rain and squally thunderstorms. Damaging heavy swells. Flooding including sea flooding of low-lying coastal areas.

For the rest of Fiji: Expect Damaging gale force winds with average speeds of 85km/hr and momentary gusts to 120km/hr. Periods of heavy rain and squally thunderstorms. Damaging heavy swells. Flooding including sea flooding of low-lying coastal areas.

The following information is especially for the Mariners:

Expect winds of hurricane force and phenomenal seas within 25 nautical miles of centre. Storm force winds and very high seas out to about 50 nautical miles of centre. Gale force winds and high seas within 100 nautical miles of centre.

For Rotuma: A south to southwest wind flow prevail over Rotuma.

Cloudy periods with brief showers. Moderate south to southwest winds. Moderate seas.

The river levels are increasing in the Rewa and Navua Catchments while flood alert has been issued for areas downstream from Dewala station. Other rivers are normal at the moment and are being monitored in anticipation of heavy rain associated with TC Winston to spread over the country.

River Catchments Status
   
Labasa Increasing (Alert issued)
   
Rewa Increasing
   
Navua Increasing
   
Rakiraki Normal
   
Nadi Normal
   
Ba Normal
   
Sigatoka Normal

Table 1: River level status at 2.00pm on Saturday 20th February, 2016.

  Wind Direction 10 Minute Average Maximum Gusts  
Location Maximum Wind (Knots)  
(Degrees)  
  Speed (Knots)    
       
         
Vanuabalavu SE 125 165  
         
Koro Island SW 53 75  
         
Udu Point NW 35 46  
         
Nabouwalu SW 30 50  
         
Ono-i-Lau SE 26 40  
         
Lakeba SE 20 32  
         
Labasa NW 20 40  
         

Table 2: The 10 minute average maximum winds reported in the last 24 hour.

It is advisable that people are to remain prepared for destructive hurricane force winds, heavy rain with a possibility of major rivers overflowing banks. All communities are advised to keep updated with the latest weather bulletins and listen to radio for the updated information, take alerts and warnings seriously.

For more details and the latest on weather, please contact the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre on 6736006, 9905376 or visit the Fiji Meteorological Service’s website, www.met.gov.fj