The causeway at Foa in Ha’apai was closed off early this morning due to high tidal waves brought by Tropical Cyclone Winston (cat. 4) located north east of Vava'u. Evacuation centers were opened to people on the outer islands of Vava'u and Ha'apai.
A spokesperson from Tonga Police, a member of a joint operation at the National Emergency Management Committee, said no casualties had been reported from any of the islands as of this morning.
The causeway connecting Lifuka and Foa was closed off temporarily due to high tidal waves reported.
At the same time, evacuation centres mainly church halls housed thousands people in Vava'u and Ha'apai overnight.
"As of this morning, 52 evacuation centres have been set up in Vava'u accomodating 2,521 people while eight centres housed 181 people in Ha'apai."
Fua’amotu Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre, this morning issued various levels of warnings for the diffent Tongan groups. For Vava'u, a storm warning remains in force, a gale warning remains for Ha’apai, Niuatoputapu and now Niuafo'ou.
For Tongatapu and 'Eua, a strong wind warning is now in force after the gale warning was cancelled.
For Vava’u, damaging east to southeast gale force winds 65-75km/hr (35-40 knots), increasing to storm force with winds of to 95-110km/hr (50-60 knots) with momentary gusts up to 130km-150km/hr (70-80 knots).
For Ha’apai, people there should expect damaging southeast gale force winds 75-85km/hr (40-45 knots).
For Tongatapu and ‘Eua is east to southeast winds 45-55km/hr (25-30 knots). Niuatoputapu is west to southwest winds 45-55km/hr (25-30 knots) and increasing to damaging gale force winds 75-85km/hr (40-45 knots).
For Niuafo’ou is west to southwest winds 45-55km/hr (25-30 knots).