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Fiji, Tonga brace for predicted cyclone, large waves forecast for NZ beaches

Newshub logoNewshub 14/01/2020 Scott Palmer

Warnings are being issued in Fiji and Tonga with fears both islands are in line to be directly hit by a tropical cyclone.

a close up of a map: Watch: Research shows super storms are getting stronger. © Image - WeatherWatch; Video - Newshub Watch: Research shows super storms are getting stronger. A large storm is brewing in the Pacific and forecasters expect it to become a tropical cyclone by Wednesday or Thursday. Once named, it will be called Tropical Cyclone Tino.

"The system is anticipated to enter Fiji water on Friday. As the system moves closer towards the group, the onset of gale- to destructive-force winds is expected as early as Thursday night," says Fiji's MetService.

"Coastal inundation from sea flooding may also be expected… both from the contribution of storm surge and wind-driven waves."

After this, the cyclone will turn its eyes on Tonga with rain and wind picking up late on Friday.

"By Saturday the storm will be exiting Fiji and as we said above it will be still developing and deepening. Therefore it may strengthen further into a more serious storm as it approaches Tonga," WeatherWatch warns.

"Torrential rain, gale-force winds (damaging potentially) and dangerous seas will cross the small island nation. The centre of the storm, based on modelling, looks to remain just to the west - but will be very close."

The cyclone is then expected to track to the northeast of New Zealand, whipping up dangerous beach conditions.

"The sea may have dangerous random large waves and much more aggressive rips," WeatherWatch warns.

"These increased swells and rips are likely in some eastern beaches of the North Island this coming Sunday, Monday and maybe into next Tuesday too."

Metservice's head of weather communication, Lisa Murray, said if cyclones are expected to impact New Zealand with severe weather, official advice will be provided via Severe Weather Outlooks, Watches and Warnings issued by MetService. 

"Even if land areas are not affected, warnings are still issued for vessels over the open sea."

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