Big and bad

Riteshni Singh And Ana Niumataiwalu
Sunday, March 14, 2010
TOMAS intensified to a category three hurricane overnight with damaging gale force winds extending to about 280-370km from its centre.

Fiji Meteorological Service director Rajendra Prasad said it was expected to develop further into a category four hurricane before landfall, projected to be in the northern and eastern parts of Fiji later tonight.

As people in the projected path of the destructive winds battened down for the worst, emergency services were put on full alert around the country.

The effects of the system will be felt within the next 36 hours, Mr Prasad said.

At 2pm yesterday, the category two Tropical Cyclone (TC) Tomas was located at about 570km north-northeast of Udu Point.

Mr Prasad said the system was slow moving and it was not a good sign for Fiji.

"It gains strength along the way," he said.

He said TC Thomas had maintained its intensification trend and was estimated to have average winds of 55 knots (100km/hr) and momentary gusts of up to 80 knots (150km/hr) close to its centre.

According to its new projected path, Tomas is expected to start affecting Fiji from early Monday.

"Associated strong winds and rain bands will arrive later tomorrow (Sunday)," he said.

Last night, the National Disaster Management Office advised people to take the warning seriously, saying this could be the worst Fiji has seen.


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