CYCLONE PAULA HITS VANUATU, HEADING TOWARDS FIJI

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (March 1, 2001 - Vanuatu Trading Post/PINA Nius Online)---At least one person was killed as Cyclone Paula, heading south, brought wild seas and strong winds to Vanuatu.

A 19-year-old in Santo drowned after his boat was overturned.

Reports coming into Port Vila from the islands are making note of extensive damage to gardens and fruit trees.

In Port Vila, trees were blown over and streams flooded but by this morning there had been no reports of casualties in the capital.

At 9:00 a.m. today Paula was located 375 nautical miles (695 kilometers) west of Nadi, the Tropical Cyclone Center at Fiji's Nadi Airport reported.

It had gusts of up to 120 knots (220 kilometers per hour) within 30 nautical miles (55 kilometers) of its center, the Nadi report said.

On its current track the cyclone is expected to lie about 225 miles (415 kilometers) to the southwest of Nadi by midnight.

Damaging gale forces winds were being forecast for Fiji's southwest Viti Levu, Yasawa, Mamanuca, Kadavu, Beqa, Vatulele and nearby smaller islands.

The Nadi Tropical Cyclone Center also warned of heavy rain, squally thunderstorms, and flooding, including sea flooding of low lying areas.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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