APCEDI Alert SP/WF 19P Tomas #5-2010: Cyclone Tomas Continues to Batter Lau Group as Fiji Government Declares State of Emergency
The RSMC-Nadi Tropical Cyclone Centre, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre are issuing guidance on Cyclone Tomas, a tropical cyclone that continues to batter the Lau Group.
This centre of this system is currently located 50 kms southeast of Totoya Island, 50 km southwest of Kambara Island and about 150 kms northwest of Ona-I-Lau, the next major island in its path. It is moving south at 13 knots. Maximum sustained winds are 90 kts making Tomas a Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Tomas peaked in intensity yesterday, and most models are now forecasting Cyclone Tomas to continue to slowly decrease in strength and maintain a southerly course over the next 24-48 hours across the remainder of Fiji's Southern Lau Group.
A Hurricane Warning is now in force for the Ona-I-Lau, Vatoa and nearby smaller islands. A Storm Warning remains in force for Kabara, Moala, Matuku, Totoya and nearby smaller islands. A Gale Warning remains in force for Gau, Batiki, Nairai, Vanua Balavu, Cicia, Nayau, Lakeba and nearby islands. A strong wind warning is in place for the rest of Fiji.
Tomas followed very closely to its forecasted track yesterday. Today, Tomas should pass 100 kms west of Vatoa and then over or very near Ona-I-Lau before exiting into the open waters of the South Pacific. It should pass well to the west of the Tongan capital Nuku 'Alofa by about 300 km.
Early today the Fiji Government declared a State of Emergency in Northern and Eastern Regions. Government authorities have not been able to establish communications with Cikobia and areas of the Ringgold Isles (Qelelevu) since the cyclone passed across yesterday. Lots of damage to trees and crops is being reported across Eastern Vanua Levu and Taveuni with damage to structures starting to come in. Navy boats are headed out tomorrow to start surveys across the region.
Inhabited Islands that have had a direct or near direct hit (50 km or less from centre) include Cikobia, Ringgold Isles (Qelelevu), Rabi, Taveuni, Laucala, Qamea, Matagi, Naitaba, Mago, Yacata, Vatu Vara, Cicia, Nayau, Vanua Vatu, Moala, Totoya and Kambara. Ona-I-Lau will likely receive a direct or near direct before the cyclone moves out.
The residents of the Lau Group and all surrounding islands should monitor this cyclone carefully as it begins to exit the region. All other areas of Fiji should monitor the storm carefully and follow Government advice as required.
Special Weather Bulletin Number TWENTY-SEVEN for Fiji ON TROPICAL CYCLONE TOMAS
ISSUED FROM RSMC NADI at 4:37pm on Tuesday the 16th of March 2010
TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR ONO-I-LAU, VATOA AND NEARBY ISLANDS.
A STORM WARNING REMAINS FORCE FOR KABARA, MOALA, MATUKU,TOTOYA, AND NEARBY ISLANDS.
A GALE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR GAU, BATIKI, NAIRAI, VANUA BALAVU, CICIA, NAYAU, LAKEBA AND NEARBY ISLANDS.
A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR THE REST OF THE FIJI GROUP.
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE TOMAS CENTRE 940HPA CATEGORY 4 WAS LOCATED NEAR 19 DECIMAL 3 SOUTH 179 DECIMAL 4 WEST OR ABOUT 170KM NORTH-NORTHWEST OF ONO-I-LAU OR 265 KM EAST-SOUTHEAST OF SUVA AT 4PM TODAY. CLOSE TO ITS CENTRE THE CYCLONE IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE AVERAGE WINDS OF 165 KM/HR EASING TO 100 KM/HR WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS. THE CYCLONE IS MOVING SOUTH AT 24 KM/HR.
ON THIS TRACK, THE CYCLONE CENTRE IS EXPECTED TO BE LOCATED ABOUT 110 KM SOUTH OF ONO-I-LAU OR 500 KM SOUTHEAST OF SUVA 4AM TOMORROW AND ABOUT 550 KM SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF ONO-I-LAU AT 4PM TOMORROW.
FOR ONO-I-LAU, VATOA AND NEARBY ISLANDS:
WINDS TO VERY DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS OF 165 KM/HR WITH MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 230 KM/HR. FREQUENT HEAVY RAIN AND SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS. PHENOMINAL SEAS. DAMAGING HEAVY SWELLS. FLOODING INCLUDING FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS.
FOR KABARA, MOALA, MATUKU,TOTOYA, AND NEARBY ISLANDS:
WINDS TO DESTRUCTIVE STORM FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS OF 90 KM/HR WITH MOMENTARY GUSTS 130 KM/HR. FREQUENT HEAVY RAIN AND SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS. VERY HIGH SEAS. DAMAGING HEAVY SWELLS. FLOODING INCLUDING FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS.
FOR GAU, BATIKI, NAIRAI, VANUA BALAVU, CICIA, NAYAU, LAKEBA AND NEARBY ISLANDS:
WINDS TO DAMAGING GALE FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS UP TO 75 KM/HR AND MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 110 KM/HR. PERIODS OF HEAVY RAIN AND SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS. VERY ROUGH TO HIGH SEAS. DAMAGING HEAVY SWELLS. FLOODING INCLUDING SEA FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS EXPECTED.
FOR THE REST OF FIJI:
FRESH TO STRONG SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS. CLOUDY WITH OCCASIONAL RAIN, HEAVY AT TIMES AND A FEW THUNDERSTORMS. POSSIBLE FLOODING IN LOW-LYING AREAS. ROUGH TO VERY ROUGH SEAS. HEAVY SWELLS.
The following information is provided especially for the mariners:
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS WITHIN 30 NAUTICAL MILES OF CENTRE WITH PHENOMINAL SEAS FOR THE NEXT 12 TO 18 HOURS. STORM FORCE WINDS WITH VERY HIGH SEAS WITHIN 50 NAUTICAL MILES OF CENTRE, REDUCING TO 30 NAUTICAL MILES OF CENTRE WITHIN 24 HOURS. GALE FORCE WINDS WITH HIGH SEAS WITHIN 150 NAUTICAL MILES OF CENTRE IN THE EASTERN SECTORS AND WITHIN 120 NAUTICAL MILES OF CENTRE IN THE WESTERN SECTORS. ELSEWHERE, FRESH TO STRONG WINDS WITH ROUGH SEAS. DAMAGING HEAVY SWELLS.
THE NEXT SPECIAL WEATHER BULLETIN FOR FIJI ON TC TOMAS WILL BE ISSUED AROUND 9PM TODAY OR EARLIER.
APCEDI will continue to monitor the progress of this system.
Please go to http://apcedi.blogspot.com// for the complete interactive alert on Cyclone Tomas.
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