Tropical Cyclone Winston is strongest ever to hit Fiji – 6 dead from ‘monster’ cyclone – All houses destroyed in Koro Island villagePosted by Jim at Sunday, February 21, 2016
21 February 2016 (AccuWeather.com) – Fiji took a direct hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston, the strongest tropical cyclone to strike the island nation.
Winston remains the equivalent of an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane in the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins or a super typhoon in the western Pacific Ocean.
According to a blog by New Zealand MetService, "Winston is now the strongest tropical cyclone and the first Category 5 [in the Southern Hemisphere] tropical cyclone on record to hit Fiji."
The cyclone made landfall about 6:30 p.m. local time on Saturday near Nasau on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu.
Prior to striking Viti Levu, 1-minute maximum sustained winds of Winston were estimated by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to be nearly 300 km/h (185 mph) as the cyclone passed by just south of Taveuni Island. [more]
By Kevin Conlon, Joshua Berlinger and Ralph Ellis
21 February 2016
(CNN) – Six people were killed in Fiji when a record-breaking storm struck the island nation, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Sunday.
Authorities believe the brunt of Tropical Cyclone Winston, which struck Saturday night, has passed. Now comes the arduous task of assessing and cleaning up the damage inflicted by the most powerful storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere.
All Fiji's schools will be closed for one week after the storm struck the island nation, the country's Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management said.
Winds that reached 296 kph (184 mph) lashed the tiny island nation in the Pacific, felling trees, knocking out power and causing heavy flooding, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported.
"Winston was a monster of a cyclone," Fiji resident Nazeem Kasim told CNN. "I have not experienced anything like this before in my life, nor has my 60-year-old father."
Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama declared a state of emergency that will be in effect for 30 days, according to the Fiji Times.
A nationwide curfew remains in effect as emergency crews clear roads of downed trees and restore power. The curfew is expected to be lifted at 5:30 a.m. Monday. All civil servants were expected to return to work after the curfew is lifted.
Nadi International Airport will open for passenger processing Monday morning. […]
Winston's 184-mph winds smashed the previous record for a Southern Hemisphere cyclone. The old record of 178 mph was shared by Cyclone Zoe, which battered the Solomon Islands in 2002, and Cyclone Monica, which walloped Australia in 2006, according to Colorado State University hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach.
Had it occurred in the Atlantic, Winston would have been a Category 5 hurricane, but because of hemispheric nomenclature, it's dubbed a cyclone. (In the Northwest Pacific, it would be a typhoon; all three are the same weather phenomenon.) [more]
By Avinesh Gopal
21 February 2016
Update: 8:43PM THERE are reports of extensive damage to buildings, infrastructure and farms in Rakiraki.
Rakiraki police said tonight that the situation was very bad in the district.
Police said many homes and schools in the district had been damaged by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston last night as it made landfall in Rakiraki.
Communication lines to the district have been cut-off from last night and people have to go to higher places to use their mobile phones.
By Talebula Kate
21 February 2016
Update: 8:55PM ALL houses in a village on Koro Island in the Lomaiviti Group have been destroyed by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.
National Disaster Management Office director Akapusi Tuifagalele said according to reports received by them, all the houses including the church, school and community hall have been destroyed at Kade village in Koro.
Mr Tuifagalele said 34 houses have also been damaged at Tavua village, also in Koro, as of this morning.