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Nuku’alofa – January 28, 2021: 6.30pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Tonga is now under tropical cyclone alert, as the Fua’amotu Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre was activated today.

This follows the strengthening of tropical depressions close to Tonga, especially moving in from Vanuatu and Fiji.

A storm warning remains in force for Vava’u, Ha’apai, Tongatapu and Eua land areas and coastal waters.

A gale warning remains in force for the Niuas.

A heavy rain warning and flash flooding advisory remains in force for all of Tonga, with a heavy damaging swell and small craft advisory for all of Tonga.

Tropical Depression 06F was located at about 19.0° South, 178.7° West  or about 480KM West Northwest of Tongatapu, 505KM West Northwest of Ha’apai, 515KM Southwest of Niuafo’ou, 515KM Northwest of ‘Eua , 535KM West of Vava’u, 645KM West Southwest of Niuatoputapu at 4pm today. TD06F is expected to move South Southeast towards the group by tonight to early tomorrow morning. Associated gale to storm force winds, cloudy conditions and periods of heavy rain and thunderstorms will affect the group by today and tomorrow.

Heavy rain over the Tongan group has continued over the last two days.

Meanwhile, TD05F is expected to develop into a category 1 Tropical Cyclone by tomorrow and move towards the Fiji group.

Acting Director Fiji Meteorological Services Terry Atalifo says based on current projections, once TD05F forms into a cyclone, it will track over Viti Levu.

“The track for now we expect the system to approach us from the Yasawa group, tracks over Viti Levu and dive south. Intensity wise we are looking at a category 1 and possible a category 2 as the system exits the group to the south of us.”

The weather office states that damaging gale force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms is expected over Vanua Levu and nearby smaller islands, Taveuni and Lau Group.

There is also a possibility of flash flooding of low lying areas and sea flooding of coastal areas over these places.

Fresh to strong winds expected over the rest of the Fiji Group which may further increase to damaging gale force winds from early Saturday morning.

Rain is expected to become frequent with thunderstorms from later today.

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