CYCLONE MOVES SOUTH OF TONGA

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 31) – Cyclone Lola is continuing to move south from Tonga, which was hit by strong winds overnight.

The lead weather forecaster for the Fiji Meteorological Service, Balbir Singh, says the cyclone, which still has gale force winds at its center of 35 to 40 knots [40 to 46 miles per hour], swerved past southern Tonga earlier this morning and is continuing on into open ocean.

But, Mr Singh says ships in the area should take care.

"The system was located near 23 south, 176 west and it’s moving due south at zero five knots. It’s not going towards any land mass at the moment - Tonga has cleared up. All the ships within that area should take care, especially the ships in this area south of the cyclone should take heed."

February 1, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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