In the path of Gita

Fred Wesley | Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Tropical Cyclone Gita arrived with a bang for Doi villager Tomasi Tuwai and his family as the weather system entered Fiji waters yesterday.
Fred Wesley
Fred Wesley

Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa started experiencing strong wind yesterday morning.

At about 10am Doi villager, Tomasi Tuwai and his family heard a loud crashing sound outside their home.

Upon investigating the source of the sound, they discovered the rooftop of their neighbour's house on their doorstep.

On Monday night, he said, seawater entered the village, caused by tidal surges, but they were fortunate there weren't any causality.

All four villages on Ono-i-Lau, namely Nukuni, Lovoni, Matokana and Doi started experiencing heavy rain accompanied by destructive wind and stormy seas yesterday. The cyclone had wreaked havoc in the island kingdom of Tonga,with wind hitting 230km per hour, uprooting trees and destroying buildings earlier before heading towards Fiji.

The system was powerful and as it continued on its forecast path yesterday, heading in a westerly direction south of Viti Levu, the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, took to social media.

He urged Fijians to take heed of warnings from relevant stakeholders.

Mr Bainimarama said Fijians in the storm's projected path, especially those in the Southern Lau Group should take heed of the warnings and prepare for TC Gita.

In its weather bulletin at 3.15pm yesterday, the Fiji Meteorological Service said a hurricane warning was in force for Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa.

A storm warning was in force for the rest of South Lau and a gale warning was in force for Matuku, Totoya, Moala, Kadavu and nearby smaller islands, Lakeba and Nayau. A strong wind warning was in force for the rest of Fiji.

The weather office expects the system to be about 280km south-southwest of Kadavu at 2pm today on its projected path.

While islands in the Lau Group and Kadavu were expected to cop the brunt of the system, the rest of Fiji, it said, should be expecting strong southerly wind with an average speed of 60km per hour and momentary gusts to 80km per hour.

We should expect occasional rain, heavy at times and squally thunderstorms, with rain becoming frequent from today.

We have all been warned.

By now we should be prepared for any eventualities.

Mother-nature can be unpredictable at times.

We should be reminded that we are still inside our annual cyclone season which stretches from November to April. We should be taking heed of warnings as the PM suggested yesterday. Take care, be aware of weather updates and stay safe.

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