Tonga warns to brace for return of Cyclone Winston

UPDATED: Tropical Cyclone Winston which swept through Tonga Islands in the last 48 hours  was expected to make a U-turn north of Vavaʻu and heads back South West on Friday 18.

On its current track, the cyclone targets Vavaʻu groups with destructive winds.

The cyclone toppled trees and brought down power lines on Tongatapu, Vavaʻu and Haʻapai on Tuesday but the damage was light and moderate.

Tonga’s MetService said today Wednesday 17 at 4.15am Winston was expected to lie about 205km East-North East of Neiafu or 240km South East of Niuatoputapu at about 10:00am this morning.

Tonga Winston
Breadfruit trees were badly damaged by Winston in Tongatapu. Photo/Gano Tenisi

Near its centre, the cyclone is estimated to have an average winds speed of 110km/hr(60knots) with momentary gust of 150km/hr(80kts).

It said  a storm warning remains in force for Vavaʻu.

A gale warning remains in force for Ha’apai, Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu.

A strong wind warning remains in force for Tongatapu and ‘Eua.

A heavy damaging swell warning remains in force for all Tonga coastal waters.

A heavy rain warning remains in force for the Niuas, Ha’apai and  Vava’u.

A flash flood warning remains in force for the Niuas, Ha’apai and Vava’u.

For Vavaʻu:

Destructive East to South East winds with average speed of 85km/hr(45 knots) and momentary gust to 120km/hr(65kts)gradually easing this morning to damaging gale force winds with average speed of 65-85km/hr(35-45knots) and momentary gust to 120km/hr(65kts).

Periods of rain,heavy at times with squally thunderstorms.

Very rough to high seas. A heavy damaging east to South East swell,and possible flash flooding including seas flooding in low lying areas.

For the two Niuas and Ha’apai:

Sela Sausini
Winston brought down trees and power lines in Haʻapai. Photo/Sela Telefoni

Damaging gale force winds with average speed of 65-85km/hr(35-45knots) and momentary gust to 120km/hr(65kts).

Periods of rain, heavy at times with squally thunderstorms. Very rough to high seas.

A heavy damaging swell and possible flash flooding including seas flooding in low lying areas.

For tongatapu and ‘Eua :

East to South East winds 45-55km/hr(25-30kts) rising up to 65km/hr(35knots).cloudy to overcast with occassional showers, possibly heavy at times. Rough to very rough seas.

A heavy damaging east to South East swell.

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