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Gita moves ever closer to Tongatapu

The notice at the BSP Nuku'alofa branch. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

NUKU’ALOFA-February 12, 2018: 4.10pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Cyclone Gita has continued on its path towards Tongatapu and ‘Eua, with all indications that it would intensify to category 5 by 8pm tonight.

Nuku’alofa braced for the cyclone this morning as offices closed and all schools also advised students to stay home.

Government also closed down with all the hotels around the capital city area putting up shutters and getting ready for the worst.

The Tanoa Hotel in Nuku'alofa with shutters as it prepares for the cyclone today. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

The Tanoa Hotel in Nuku’alofa with shutters as it prepares for the cyclone today. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

Tonga MET Director Ofa Fa’anunu said people should expect the worse with the cyclone expected to intensify to category 5 by 7pm.

He said winds close to the centre would be travelling at a speed of around 15o knots.

A quick check by Nuku’alofa Times this afternoon saw all major shopping centres, bars and offices closed down.

That also included the banks and the Post Office in town.

Meanwhile, here is the latest weather forecast on Cyclone Gita issues from the Fua’amotu Station this afternoon:

FUA’AMOTU WEATHER FORECASTING CENTRE.
TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORY NUMBER FOURTEEN  FOR TONGA ON SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE
GITA ISSUED FROM THE FUA’AMOTU TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING CENTRE AT 3:20PM
MONDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2018.
 TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING:
A  HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR TONGATAPU AND ‘EUA.
A STORM WARNING REMAINS INFORCE FOR THE NOMUKA, MANGO, FONOI AND NEARBY SMALL ISLANDS.
A GALE WARNING REMAINS INFORCE FOR THE REST OF HA’APAI GROUP.
A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS INFORCE FOR VAVA’U AND THE  NIUAS.
A DAMAGING SWELL WARNING REMAINS INFORCE FOR TONGATAPU,’EUA,HA’APAI AND VAVA’U.
A HEAVY RAIN AND FLASH FLOOD WARNING REMAINS INFORCE FOR HA’APAI,TONGATAPU AND ‘EUA.
SITUATION:
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE GITA, CATEGORY 4, WAS LOCATED NEAR 21.6 SOUTH 172.7 WEST OR  265KM EAST OF TONGATAPU OR 270KM SOUTHEAST OF LIFUKA AT 2:00PM TODAY. CLOSE TO ITS CENTER, THE CYCLONE IS EXPECTED TO HAVE AVERAGE WINDS OF
105 KNOTS(195KM/HRS) POSSIBLY INCREASING TO 115 KNOTS(210KM/HRS) . THE CYCLONE IS MOVING WEST ABOUT 15 KNOTS(30KM/HR). VERY DESTRUCTIVE HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED FROM THIS EVENING FOR TONGATAPU AND ‘EUA.
FORECAST FOR TODAY:
FOR TONGATAPU AND ‘EUA:
SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST DAMAGING WINDS OF 45-50 KNOTS(85KM-90KM/HRS) WITH MOMENTARY GUST UP TO 65 KNOTS(120KM/HRS) , POSSIBLY INCREASING TO 80 KNOTS(150KM/HRS) WITH MOMENTARY GUST TO 100 KNOTS(185KM/HRS) FROM TONIGHT. OVERCAST WITH OCCASSIONAL RAIN HEAVY AT TIMES WITH THUNDERSTORMS.
VERY ROUGH TO HIGH SEAS. A HEAVY SOUTHEAST DAMAGING SWELL ON COASTAL AREAS.

FOR NOMUKA, MANGO, FONOI AND NEARBY SMALL ISLANDS:
STRONG SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS, INCREASING TO DAMAGING WINDS OF 35-40 KNOTS(65-75KM/HRS)  WITH MOMENTARY GUST UP TO 55KNOTS(100KM/HRS) . OVERCAST WITH OCCASSIONAL RAIN, HEAVY AT TIMES WITH THUNDERSTORMS.
VERY ROUGH TO HIGH SEAS. A HEAVY SOUTHEAST DAMAGING SWELL ON COASTAL AREAS.

FOR THE REST OF HA’APAI GROUP:
FRESH TO STRONG SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS, INCREASING TO DAMAGING WINDS OF 30-35 KNOTS (55KM-65KM/HR)WITH MOMENTARY GUST UP TO 45 KNOTS(85KM/HR) . OVERCAST WITH OCCASSIONAL RAIN HEAVY AT TIMES WITH THUNDERSTORMS.
VERY ROUGH TO HIGH SEAS. A HEAVY SOUTHEAST DAMAGING SWELL ON COASTAL AREAS.

FOR VAVA’U AND THE NIUAS:

WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS 20-25 KNOTS(35KM-45KM/HR), RISING UP TO 30-35 KNOTS(55KM-65KM/HR), GUSTY UP TO 40 KNOTS(75KM/HR). MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SHOWERS.ROUGH SEAS. A HEAVY SOUTHEAST DAMAGING SWELL ON COASTAL AREAS OF VAVA’U.  FORECAST FOR TOMORROW: FOR TONGATAPU AND ‘EUA.
WINDS GRADUALLY INCREASING TO AVERAGE SPEEDS OF 90 KNOTS(180KM/HR) AND GUSTS TO 110 KNOTS(220KM/HR) FROM EARLY TOMORROW MORNING. PERIODS OF HEAVY RAIN WITH THUNDERSTORMS. HIGH SEAS. VERY DAMANGING HEAVY SWELLS. FLOODING, INCLUDING  SEA FLOODING FOR LOW LYING COASTAL AREAS.

FOR NOMUKA, MANGO, FONOI AND NEARBY SMALL ISLANDS:
DAMAGING WINDS OF 35-40 KNOTS(65KM-75KM/HR) WITH MOMENTARY GUST UP TO 55 KNOTS(100KM/HR) IN THE AFTERNOON. OVERCAST WITH OCCASSIONAL RAIN, HEAVY AT TIMES WITH THUNDERSTORMS.
VERY ROUGH TO HIGH SEAS. A HEAVY SOUTHEAST DAMAGING SWELL. FLOODING, INCLUDING  SEA FLOODING FOR LOW LYING COASTAL AREAS.

FOR THE REST HA’APAI GROUP:

DAMAGING WINDS OF 30-35 KNOTS(55KM-65KM/HR) WITH MOMENTARY GUST UP TO 45 KNOTS(85KM/HR) IN THE AFTERNOON. OVERCAST WITH OCCASSIONAL RAIN HEAVY AT TIMES WITH THUNDERSTORMS. VERY ROUGH TO HIGH SEAS. A HEAVY SOUTHEAST DAMAGING SWELL. FLOODING, INCLUDING  SEA FLOODING FOR LOW LYING COASTAL AREAS.

FOR VAVA’U AND THE NIUAS:
NORTH TO NORTHWEST WINDS 20-25 KNOTS(35KM-45KM/HR), GUSTY UP TO 30 KNOTS(55KM/HR). MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SHOWERS.
ROUGH SEAS. A MODERATE SOUTHEAST DAMAGING SWELL ON COASTAL AREAS OF VAVA’U.  TIDE PREDICTION: HIGH TIDE       :      05:20PM
LOW TIDE        :      11:55PM  THE MEAN SEA LEVEL PRESSURE RECORDED AT FUA’AMOTU AIRPORT AT 03:00PM WAS 995.5 MILLIBARS.  THE NEXT TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORY FOR TONGA WILL BE ISSUED ABOUT 5:00PM THIS AFTERNOO






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