Tropical Cyclone Headed Towards Niuafo’ou In Tonga

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Local weather office says cyclone continuing to intensify

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 8, 2014) – Now upgraded to Category 2 storm in Tonga, Tropical Cyclone Ian is moving towards Tonga’s northernmost island, Niuafo‘ou, and on its current track, TC Ian may bring damaging gale force winds to Niuafo‘ou in the next 12 to 24 hours.

The Fua’amotu Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre stated at 4:00pm today that the intensifying TC Ian was 200km southwest of Niuafo‘ou at 1:00pm, when it was moving north. A gale warning remains in force for Vava‘u and Ha‘apai, while a strong wind warning remains in force for Niuatoputapu and Tafahi.

TC Ian has estimated winds of 50 knots near its centre with momentary gusts up to 65 knots.

"The cyclone has moved west at 5 knots in the last six hours and continues to intensify. The system is expected to become slow moving then turn and move southeast in the next 24 hours," Fua‘amotu TCWC advised.

Tropical Cyclone Ian, that formed two days ago near the Vava‘u Group, was upgraded to a Category 2 storm overnight by the regional RSMC Nadi Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre on a track moving southeast across Tonga, between the Vava‘u and the Ha‘apai Groups over the next three days.

The Fua’amotu weather forecast for Tonga, issued at 4:00 pm November 8, 2014:

Niuafo‘ou:

Northwest winds 15-20 knots increasing to 25 to 35 knots with momentary gusts of 35 to 45 knots in the next 12 to 24 hours. Rain developing heavy at times with flash flooding expected. Seas rough to very rough with moderate to heavy northwest swell.

Vava‘u and Ha‘apai groups:

North to northeast winds 10-15 knots increasing to 20-25 knots with momentary gusts of 30 to 35 knots in the next 24 to 48 hours. Seas becoming rough with moderate northwest swells.

Niuatoputapu and Tafahi

Northwest winds 15-20 knots increasing 20-25 knots in the next 12 to 24 hours. Cloudy periods with occasional showers developing in to heavy rain. Seas becoming rough with moderate northwest swells.

Tongatapu and ‘Eua:

Easterly winds 10-15 knots, mainly fine apart from cloudy periods with few showers, moderate seas with moderate easterly swells.

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