Tropical Cyclone Tomas heading to Fiji
Cyclone Tomas forecast to roar across the centre of Fiji from Monday (Radio New Zealand International)
The Fiji Metservice says Tomas is a category two system but is likely to significantly intensify over the next day or so.
Forecaster Alipate Waqaicelua says by then the cyclone could threaten Vanua Levu and Viti Levu with winds of up to 125 knots.
“At the moment all the model guidance is agreeing to bring the track right across Fiji, starting from Vanua Levu, the big island to the north, and then come down through Fiji on its way southward.”
Tropical Cyclone Tomas heading straight towards Fiji Group (FijiVillage)
Tropical Cyclone Tomas has now heading Southwest and his heading straight towards the Fiji group and is expected to start affecting the country from late tomorrow or early Monday morning.
Nadi Weather Office Director Rajendra Prasad said Tropical Cyclone Tomas has slowed down and is intensifying rapidly and is expected to be upgraded to a hurricane status within the next 12 hours.
Tropical Cyclone Tomas was located 545 kilometers North Northeast of Udu point at around 11am today and is moving Southwest at 11 kilometers per hour.
Close to its center, Tropical Cyclone Tomas has average winds of 100km/hr to 140km/hr and on its current track, it may bring gale force winds over most parts of the country within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Cyclone Tomas is moving slowly and is intensifying steadily. This storm has the potential to become one of the strongest that Fiji has experienced. Strong winds and heavy rains are expected to begin Sunday afternoon and increase throughout the night as the bulk of the storm makes landfall.
The slow movement of Tomas provides ample time for the storm to intensify potentially becoming a very severe tropical cyclone. Sea surface temperatures in this region are quite warm providing plenty of fuel for intensification provided that wind shear remains low.
Tomas coming slow, but getting stronger (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Ltd.)
Tropical Cyclone Tomas could develop into one of the most devastating hurricanes Fiji has ever faced, says the National Disaster Management Office.
A DISMAC statement just released a while ago says that Cyclone Tomas is expected to intensify into a Hurricane by this evening and possibly develop further into a Category 4 system just before reaching landfall.
Based on rather slow movement of TC Thomas to date and its new projected path, the cyclone is expected to start affecting Fiji from early on Monday 15 March.
The fact that the cyclone has been moving rather slowly, though giving ample time for warning and for people to prepare, is not so good news for Fiji as it gives the system good opportunity to develop into a more severe Hurricane (Category 4) as it approaches the country.