Tropical Cyclone Mona is gathering strength in the Pacific – now intensified to a category two storm – as it spins towards the Fiji island of Vanua Levu, MetService says.
It’s currently packing winds of 130 kilometres per hour, and was predicted to maintain its category two strength as it reaches northern and central areas of Fiji on Sunday, before turning towards southern Fiji on Monday.
Across Fiji, some domestic flights and ferry sailings were cancelled, and people were being told to stay away from the sea, with very rough seas forecast this weekend.
Fiji TV reported that a total of 28 flights had been cancelled because of Mona, however Fiji Airways confirmed the only international flight cancelled was to and from Suva and Funafuti, Tuvalu.
At 11:30am, flights between Auckland and Fiji were still operating – two flights arriving from Nadi were delayed.
Mona is joined in the Pacific by Tropical Cyclone Penny, however Penny is expected to remain in the Coral Sea – northeast of Queensland, Australia – and not affect any pacific islands.
The Fiji Meteorological Service said the effects of wind can cause damage to well-built homes, uproot trees and severe damage week structures and shallow rooted crops.
But following days of heavy rain the country is sodden and the Fiji government opened an emergency operations centre in anticipation of probable floods.
Viliame Vereivalu, acting director of Meteorology in Fiji, expected flooding to cause problems.
“With rivers being at medium to high flows, soil already saturated and more rain predicted, the chances of flooding of low lying and flood prone areas is high. Sea flooding of low-lying coastal areas and damaging heavy swells is also anticipated.
“The Northern, and Eastern coastlines are at high risk of inundation by combined effect of wind stress, heavy swells, storm surge and high tide.”
All communities living in low coastal, flood prone and low lying areas are reminded to remain alert and take all necessary precautions, similarly for those living in landslide prone areas, he said.
It’s not expected to affect Kiwis, MetService NZ said it will track east of the country.
“A large high over New Zealand, and to the east of the country, is pushing the cyclone well away from us,” said MetService meteorologist Nick Zacher.