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Fiji on alert - Cyclone Tomas heading straight for Rabi and Taveuni

Friday, March 12, 2010 FIJI TIMES ONLINE

This is the path that Tropical Cyclone Tomas is expected to take over the weekend+ Enlarge this image

This is the path that Tropical Cyclone Tomas is expected to take over the weekend

Update: 5:30PM Fiji is now on official cyclone alert as Tropical Cyclone Tomas bears down on the country. This is the latest weather briefing issued by the Nadi Weather Forecasting Centre at 5pm.

Tropical Disturbance 14F developed into a tropical cyclone this afternoon and was named TOMAS around 1pm today.

Category 1 TC Tomas was still located about 700 km northeast on Udu Point at 4pm today and is drifting slowly westwards. The system is expected to curve southwest tomorrow and south as it approaches Fiji on Sunday.

TC Thomas is presently estimated to have average winds 35 knots (65 km/hr) and momentary gusts to 55 knots (100 Km/hr) knots) close to its centre. However, the system is expected to intensify into a Category 2 (Storm) overnight and may reach Category 3 (Hurricane) by late tomorrow.

Based on projected path TC Thomas is expected to start affecting Fiji from later on Sunday. However, associated strong winds and rain bands could arrive by late tomorrow (Saturday). At this stage it appears that the Northern and Eastern Divisions may be more directly affected but this could change. Once a Hurricane, TC Thomas may, to a large extent, dictate its own path.

At this stage a TC ALERT has been issued for the Fiji Group requiring people to stay on alert and to be ready to take full precautions and preparedness action once WARNING is issued for specific areas. Mariners are specially advised to stay away from the sea and if out at sea, then to seek shelter quickly.

The second Tropical Depression (13F) located just west of Santo Island in Vanuatu is also expected to deepen and from into a Tropical Cyclone overnight. The system is expected to drift westwards and is therefore of no direct threat to Fiji at this stage.

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