Author Topic: Tropical Cyclone WINSTON - most powerful storm to hit the Fiji Islands  (Read 1077 times)

Yowbarb

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http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/20/us/tropical-cyclone-winston-fiji/index.html

Updated 3:11 AM ET, Sat February 20, 2016 | Video Source: CNN
2:40 AM ET, Sat February 20, 2016

Tropical Cyclone WINSTON - most powerful storm to hit the Fiji Islands 

(CNN)—Tropical Cyclone Winston is now making landfall in Fiji, said CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

The storm, which is the most powerful ever to hit the island nation, was tracked moving through the narrow waterway ocean in between the country's main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

"Batten down the hatches. It's going to get worse before it gets better," Van Dam said.

The capital city, Suva, is without electricity, according to The Fiji Times.

Tropical Cyclone Winston is packing winds of 180 mph with gusts over 220 mph -- the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane -- according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The storm is expected to strengthen further before the eye of the storm hits.

"The assault," as Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama put it, has already begun.

"As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind," Bainimarama said. "We must stick together as a people and look after each other."

It is the strongest storm on record to make a direct hit on the main islands, which are home to a majority of Fiji's 900,000 people and are smaller than Connecticut.

Warnings from the Tropical Cyclone Center in Fiji caution that destructive wind gusts from Winston could reach up to 225 mph, in addition to damaging rough seas and coastal flooding.


The government imposed a curfew starting at 6 p.m. local time, a statement from the country's disaster management said.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said that the government is "thoroughly prepared to deal with this crisis."

The government has declared a state of emergency that will be in effect for the next 30 days, The Fiji Times reported.

The tropical cyclone season in this region of the South Pacific runs from November 1 to April 30. Activity for the season is expected to be above average due to the ongoing record El Niño, which has brought above-average water temperatures to much of the Pacific.

Viti Levu, Fiji's main island, has had fewer than 10 direct hits from storms at or above hurricane intensity (sustained winds of 75 mph or greater), according to NOAA. Tropical Cyclone Evan, which struck the island in December 2012, had maximum winds of 145 mph, causing major damage but no fatalities.

CNN's Tina Burnside contributed to this report.




Yowbarb

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Re: Tropical Cyclone WINSTON - most powerful storm to hit the Fiji Islands
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2016, 09:35:08 AM »
Yowbarb Note: The first video just a few seconds long...two videos posted.
...

video
FIJI: Worlds Biggest Tropical Cyclone Winston 230km/h (Original Footage) 0:12
Published on Feb 20, 2016

video link: https://youtu.be/adv5-6N-I3w

News Wolf
Published on Feb 20, 2016
A MAN has died as a category-five tropical cyclone, the strongest on record in the southern hemisphere, bears down on Fiji’s main island with hurricane-force winds averaging 230km/h.

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) confirmed an elderly man of Nabasovi, Koro Island, became the first victim of Winston.
DISMAC officer on duty, Vatia Vasuca, told FBC the man died after a roof top fell on him. Vasuca said only one life has been lost so far.
The Fijian government has declared a State of Disaster for 30 days beginning Saturday.
A nationwide curfew was also imposed from 6pm (5pm AEDT), with only essential emergency services permitted to travel.
Tropical cyclone Winston, with ferocious gusts of more than 325km/h, hit Fiji’s outer islands earlier this afternoon before moving to on to make landfall on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, home to more than 600,000 people.
The worst is still to come in the coming hours, with the deadliest conditions expected to occur overnight and in the morning as the storm hits the nation’s populated areas.
The cyclone has caused widespread flash flooding and power outages, including in the country’s capital of Suva.
The eye of the storm had been forecast to pass between the two main populated islands overnight Saturday. But some forecasters now warn that it is travelling much further south, near the main island, than expected.
With blackouts sparked across most of Fiji, authorities are encouraging people to try not to give into fear.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated as 758 refuge centres were activated across Fiji when Winston intensified its path on the Pacific island nation.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said 1200 Australians were registered as being in Fiji, with many more expected to currently be there.
The country’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama pleaded for people not to be complacent, fearing residents of urban areas were not heeding the warnings about the severity of the threat.
“As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We must stick together as a people and look after each other. Be alert and be prepared,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“I urge you all, if you haven’t already done so, to finalise your own preparations to survive this terrible event.”
Mr Bainimarama urged people Fijians to secure their properties, stock up their supplies and remain indoors as the risk of being hit by flying debris was “extremely high”.
“Let us all pray for our nation, ourselves and each other and ask God’s blessing on our beloved Fiji.”
Power blackouts have already struck several parts of Fiji. Authorities say electricity will only be restored when the situation becomes safe enough to work in those sites. Social media is awash with videos of the escalating tropical cyclone, some showing infrastructure damage.

The Fiji Times reported some damage, including a roof being blown off one home, from some of the nation’s smaller islands to the east as the cyclone began to strike there.

The Times said there had been a run on supermarkets and stores as people stocked up on essential supplies and that a 5pm curfew had been placed on all public transportation.

Many of the nation’s 900,000 people were hoping the cyclone’s path would remain as forecast and thread between the islands of Vanua Levu to the north and Vitu Levu to the south, which is home to the capital Suva, so that both islands would avoid a direct hit.

Hundreds of Australians, including holiday makers and permanent residents, were among those bunkered down.

Flights have been cancelled for Australian holiday makers heading to or returning from Fiji after flying conditions were determined to be too unsafe.
...
video, 25 minutes ago;
Original Footage: Cyclone Winston Storm Slams Fiji, One Confirmed Dead

https://youtu.be/mXXk1U7HgSw

Published on Feb 20, 2016
Cyclone Winston has moved west of Fiji, with daylight to reveal the extent of damage after the Pacific island nation took a battering.

Fiji was slammed by the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere on Saturday and early Sunday.

One person is dead, and residents are under curfew as winds of up to 325kmh pummel the island nation.
Waves and flooding swept Fiji's islands.
GAETANE LEE

The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) confirmed an elderly man of Nabasovi, Koro Island, became the first victim of Winston.

DISMAC officer on duty, Vatia Vasuca, told FBC the man died after a roof top fell on him. Vasuca said only one life has been lost so far.

Twenty four houses and a church at Nabasovi village on Koro have been badly damaged, FBC reported..
This satellite image captured Tropical Cyclone Winston in the South Pacific Ocean.
NASA

This satellite image captured Tropical Cyclone Winston in the South Pacific Ocean.

Head of Nabasovi District School, Taura Vosayaco, told FBC News all people were now being sheltered in one of the classrooms in the school and another house, which was not damaged.

Vosayaco said the school dining hall was also destroyed and a shed for the school generator. The weather is now calm at Nabasovi as the eye of Winston moved in.

Are you or your family in Fiji? Email your photos and videos to newstips@stuff.co.nz
Suva, Fiji's capital, pictured as the storm closes in on the island.
DEAN ALI/SUPPLIED

Suva, Fiji's capital, pictured as the storm closes in on the island.

Winston, still a Category 5 system, is slowly moving away from Fiji. At 1am local time, it was located about 95km west-northwest of Nadi.
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Fiji Meteorology Office forecaster Amit Singh said the system was moving west at about 25kph and was expected to move in that direction for the next 12-18 hours before it takes the southeast turn, FBC reported.

He said the worst was over for Fiji and winds easing in most places, although heavy rain remained.
Category five tropical cyclone Winston is bearing down on Fiji.
MetService

Category five tropical cyclone Winston is bearing down on Fiji.

For western Viti Levu, the main island, the gale force wind warning currently in place was expected to ease in the next few hours, Singh said.

However, rain would continue in the western division until early next week as the wind remains west-northwest, with flooding around Fiji becoming an issue.

There were no reports on serious injury in Nausori, near Suva on Vitu Levu, but flooding, damage to houses and power poles had occurred in Savusavu, on Vanua Levu, while a bus was reported to have been washed inland by big tidal waves.

After twice hammering outlying islands in nearby Tonga last week, Cyclone Winston re-intensified on Saturday and began to track west towards Suva, the capital of Fiji, packing winds of 230kmh, with gusts of up to 325kmh.

The Fijian government has declared a state of natural disaster for the next 30 days.

Hours before the storm hit land, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama warned the nation is facing an ordeal "of the most grievous kind" as tropical Cyclone Winston begins to batter the country.

He urged Fijians to prepare themselves for a "terrible event".

Forecasters were predicting that Nadi could take a direct hit from the cyclone in the next few hours.

Fijian-born Lizann Vailasi was due to fly home to Sydney on Sunday.

But instead she's hunkered down with her brother and his family at Pacific Harbour, south-west of Suva.

She was mostly worried about her fellow Fijians sheltering in small towns as they wait for the worst of the wind and rain hit.

"There are thousands worse off. Fingers crossed and God willing."

A number of airlines, including Air New Zealand, have stopped flying to Fiji until the weather clears.

POWER OUTAGES ACROSS FIJI

Fiji's Red Cross reported power outages across most of Fiji, including in the captial city of Suva.

About 9.30pm, the eye of the cyclone made landfall over the north coast of Viti Levu, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.

The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Winston was following a path that might spare Suva the full force of its winds, rated as category 5, the highest ranking on the hurricane wind scale.

"The cyclone has tracked further north than expected over the past 24 hours," the UN agency said.

It was possible Suva may only be hit by 150kmh winds.

Roads with trees and powerlines covering them are closed and the Fijian Government says they will not be cleared and water supplies will not be re-established until the storm passes.

KIWIS ON THE GROUND
Power was put out in many parts of Tonga owing to damage caused by Cyclone Winston.
Supplied


Yowbarb

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Re: Tropical Cyclone WINSTON - most powerful storm to hit the Fiji Islands
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2016, 11:11:08 PM »
https://weather.com/  Fiji Recovering After Unprecedented Category 5 Cyclone Makes Landfall

https://weather.com/news/weather/news/tropical-cyclone-winston-impacts-pacific

1 Dead as Tropical Cyclone Winston Tears Through Fiji; State of Emergency Declared amid Severe Wind and Flooding Damage

Yowbarb

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Re: Tropical Cyclone WINSTON - most powerful storm to hit the Fiji Islands
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 03:26:47 PM »
Yowbarb Note: At least 1300 Australians were in Fiji when the storm hit. New Zealand and Australia lead the relief effort. The death toll is rising after the strongest storm in history to hit Fiji, WINSTON. Photos and videos on this page:
...
http://www.9news.com.au/wild-weather/2016/02/20/10/10/emergency-unfolding-in-fiji-as-tropical-cyclone-winston-bears-down

Death toll rises as Fiji cleans up from Cyclone Winston
 
Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/wild-weather/2016/02/20/10/10/emergency-unfolding-in-fiji-as-tropical-cyclone-winston-bears-down#OQj5rhpAseXevcAR.99

The death from Tropical Cyclone Winston has climbed to at least six, as Fiji begins to clean up from the Category Five super-storm.

The most powerful cyclone in the Pacific nation's history has left a trail of destruction, flattening scores of homes and crippling infrastructure.

There are fears the official death toll will rise as aid agencies eventually gain access to remote villages.

Cyclone Winston lashed the popular tourist destination overnight Saturday, packing wind gusts of 325km/h, according to the UN humanitarian agency OCHA.

OCHA said six people were killed during the cyclone, which was the first-ever storm system to hit Fiji as a category five.
"Homes have been destroyed, many low-lying areas have flooded," Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said earlier Sunday in a statement.

"In the aftermath of this great tragedy, many are without power and full access to water, and are cut off from communication."

Officials said one man died on Koro island, reportedly from debris sent flying during the cyclone.
Others died on Ovalau island and in Tailevu and Ra provinces, National Disaster Management Office director Akapusi Tuifagalele told Fiji One News.

Five others were injured, Tuifagalele added.

OCHA said 150 houses were destroyed and 60 others damaged in the Eastern Division covering the provinces of Kadavu, Lau, Lomaiviti and Rotuma. It gave no figures for the country's three other divisions.

Aid agencies admitted they simply had no idea about the full extent of the destruction, as Fijians shared pictures on social media of roofless houses, flooded streets and metal signposts bent over by the wild winds.

Save the Children Fiji chief Iris Low-McKenzie said it was too early to assess the impact on outlying islands, although unconfirmed reports said thousands of homes had been destroyed and entire villages flattened.

"I'm especially concerned about the remote communities in outlying areas that we haven't been able to contact yet," she said.

"Until communications are re-established and we assess the damage, we won't know the full extent of the situation."

The capital Suva escaped the full fury of the storm but Low-McKenzie said it was still a terrifying experience.

"I've never experienced anything like this," she said. "

The noise was frightening as roofs were blown off homes and trees were ripped out by their roots."

Bainimarama said the storm amounted to an "assault on Fiji", an impoverished nation of about 900,000 heavily reliant on its tourism industry.

"It is being described as one of the most powerful in recorded history... as a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind," he said in a national address late Saturday.

Bainimarama declared a state of natural disaster, to remain in place for one month. A curfew was imposed but was lifted on Monday morning.
All schools, many of which are being used as evacuation centres, were ordered closed for one week.

Many residents spent the night huddled in the shelters, where they were given food and water.
Falling trees cut power and blocked roads on the main island of Viti Levu, where all flights were cancelled as high winds buffeted Nadi international airport.

The military has cancelled all leave and mobilised troops for the relief effort.
New Zealand led the international response, sending a P-3 Orion aircraft to help assess damage in remote communities, while Australia offered to do the same.

The acting head of the Red Cross's Pacific office Ahmad Sami said an accurate assessment of the storm's impact would take time.
"We anticipate that humanitarian needs will be very high," he said.

"This is the first time that Fiji has experienced a cyclone of this magnitude in their history, a category five, so we're still trying to find out the figures."
He said priorities were restoring power and repairing damaged homes, as well as maintaining drinking water supplies in more than 700 evacuation centres.

OCHA said hospitals had been badly damaged in Suva and Ba township as Winston "cut a path of destruction across Fiji's islands".

The Fiji Meteorological Office said the cyclone had moved out to sea about 230 kilometres west of Nadi by mid-morning Sunday, although the islands could still expect strong winds, heavy rains and powerful swells.

Airlines Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways will resume international flights Monday.
About 1300 Australians were registered with DFAT as being in Fiji but that figure was likely to be far higher, given that up to 350,000 Aussies visit Fiji every year, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Sunday.

With AAP.

© ninemsn 2016


rotorman

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Yeah that cyclone was aweful,us aussies gave them 21 million ,ok but we are always giving hand outs while us locals suffer ,not whinging just i guess fustration ,we gave 2004 indo 1 billion ,papa another 20 mill ,we are a rich place but we cant keep giving it all away ,the govt here want to raise taxes again ,i see why

Kyirrie

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Yeah that cyclone was aweful,us aussies gave them 21 million ,ok but we are always giving hand outs while us locals suffer ,not whinging just i guess fustration ,we gave 2004 indo 1 billion ,papa another 20 mill ,we are a rich place but we cant keep giving it all away ,the govt here want to raise taxes again ,i see why
Absolutely right Rotorman! We have to look after our own country first. Besides all the natural disasters that we often face there are also the common everyday crises that the government is not dealing with like the hospital and medical system in general, mental health is a disaster, crazies all over the place who should be locked up for everyone's safety are roaming the streets causing havoc, my family is dealing with one right now! We must look after ourselves.
Love and light
Lynette