Tropical Cyclone Gita has strengthened to a severe category three storm and is set to further intensify as it makes its way across the Pacific.
Tonga Met Service has issued its latest tropical cyclone warning this morning Sunday 11 at 11am.
It said: “Hurricane warning remains in force for Vava’u, Ha’apai, Tongatapu and ‘Eua. A strong wind warning remains in force for the Niuas.”
New Zealand’s Weather Watch last night said the cyclone, which has already caused considerable damage and flooding in Samoa, was likely to become a category four in the next 24 hours.
A potential second tropical cyclone was developing to the west and northwest of Gita.
The new cyclone would be called Hola, Niwa says.
Weather Watch analyst Philip Duncan says the first cyclone is to reach Tonga tomorrow afternoon or evening.
Meanwhile, Pacific Timber and Hardware (PTH) has announced on Facebook it opens today Sunday 11 from 2pm – 6pm to allow the public an opportunity to prepare for Cyclone Gita with emergency supplies.
“Naikano Paletua will be leading a small PTH team in store. Please note it will only be a small team on site to assist and that the opening is only for emergency supplies to allow any organisations and families to prepare for an intensifying cyclone,” John Paul Chapman of PTH said.
HABS hardware and building supplies at Wellington road in Nuku’alofa also opens for emergency supplies from 3pm – 6pm today, a spokesperson told Kaniva News this afternoon.
Tonga has Sunday trading ban law which it can be lifted in times of emergency.
The government has yet to declare the country was in a state of emergency.
Some people who contacted Kaniva News this morning said they have not received any pubic announcements to confirm whether there was a lift on the ban while the country is bracing for cyclone Gita.
Some people wanted to know whether other hardware providers and retail shops near them were allowed to operate on Sunday.
The Ministry of Police was contacted for comment.