Giant cyclone to strike northern Tonga

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As Tropical Cyclone Ian oscillates since its first report early this week, Tonga Met Services at its latest advisory says it is expected to strike Tonga this evening bringing  a destructive hurricane force winds.

Ian now is rated as category 4 meaning it would hit with strongest wind gust measured at 225-280km/h causing significant roofing loss and structural damage, dangerous airborne debris and widespread power failure.

On its current track, tropical cyclone Ian may bring damaging gale force winds to Vava'u in the next 3-6hrs and very destructive storm force winds in the next 6-12hrs and very destructive hurricane force winds in the next 12-18hrs.

For the Ha'apai group tropical cyclone Ian may bring damaging gale force winds in the next 6-12hrs, destructive storm force winds in the next 12-18 and possible very destructive hurricance force winds in the next 24 to 36hr.

For Tongatapu and 'Eua the cyclone may bring damaging gale force winds in the next 24-48hrs

Severe tropical cyclone Ian category 4 was located near 17 decimal 1 south 175 decimal 8 west or about 170km south of Niuafo'ou or about 260km northwest of Vava'u at 7:00am this morning.

Tropical cyclone Ian has estimated winds of 90knots near its centre with momentary gusts up to 125knots.

The cyclone continues to intensify and is moving east-southeast at 4knots.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology rates the Australian tropical cyclone as the following:

  • Category 1 with strongest wind gust measured at less than 125 kilometres per hour. Usually causes minimal house damage but may cause damage to some crops, trees and caravans and water craft may drag moorings.
  • Category 2 with strongest wind gust measured at 125-170km/h. May cause minor house damage but significant damage to signs, trees and caravans, and heavy damage to some crops. There may be risk of power failure and small craft may break moorings.
  • Category 3 with strongest wind gust measured at 170-225km/h. May cause roof and structural damage, destroy caravans, cause power failure.
  • Category 4 with strongest wind gust measured at 225-280km/h. May cause significant roofing loss and structural damage, dangerous airborne debris, widespread power failure.
  • Category 5 with strongest wind gust at more than 280km/h. Extremely dangerous and causing widespread destruction.

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