Monster tropical cyclone Evan is pushing towards Fiji after
wrecking deadly havoc in neighbouring Samoa.
At least four people were killed and eight are missing after
Cyclone Evan hit on Thursday, bringing winds of up to
170km/h, flash floods and rough seas.
The cyclone has moved from the capital Apia and is gaining
momentum as it heads towards Fiji, increasing in intensity
from category three to category four.
WeatherWatch.co.nz. head analyst Philip Duncan said
meteorologists at the Fiji MetService predicted Evan would
track north of both Suva and Fiji, but the island would still
get "walloped" by the storm over the next couple of days.
"Evan is a slow moving high-end tropical cyclone. The scale
only goes up to five and Evan is four putting sustained winds
at 200km/h and gusts to 280km/h.
"To put that in perspective, that's stronger than the same
wind speeds in the recent Hobsonville tornado and unlike the
tornado this cyclone this is covering a few hundred
kilometres not just a few hundred metres."
Some small low lying communities and resorts could suffer
"catastrophic" damage, and some small islands could be
entirely submerged by the storm, Mr Duncan said.
Fiji's military leader Frank Bainimarama issued a statement
urging every Fijian citizen to take the "impending disaster"
seriously and to restrict their movements and refrain from
The centre of Evan looked likely to track closer to Nadi than
Suva but torrential rain, which could lead to significant
flooding and landslides, could affect all parts of the
Massive seas were also expected and coastal flooding could be
a significant issue for some areas.
And the storm could reach northern New Zealand next weekend.
"This is one for people in the northern half of New Zealand
to watch closely as it may impact some travel and holiday
plans in the lead up to Christmas," Mr Duncan said.
"We're not expecting Evan to be a cyclone if it does reach
New Zealand next weekend, but it may still bring gales and
heavy rain - however it may also slide down just east of us,
so one to monitor."
Mr Duncan said a more concrete prediction on Evan's future
path should evolve over the next two days as the storm starts
to clear Fiji.