Monster cyclone pushes towards Fiji

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. 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 unnecessary travel.

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 nation.

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.


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