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Gale alerts for Tongatapu and 'Eua

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

A strong wind warning with heavy rain advisory is in force for Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua as Tropical Depression 15F was located about 890km west-northwest of Nuku’alofa this morning. Near its centre the depression is forecasted to, probably, increase to Tropical Cyclone strength in the next 18-24 hours.

Tonga’s Fua’amotu Weather Forecasting Centre at 2:30pm today issued Tropical Cyclone Advisory One for Tonga. This included a tropical cyclone alert and a gale alert for Tongatapu and 'Eua.

A strong wind warning is in force for Vava’u, Ha’apai, Tongatapu and ‘Eua, with heavy damaging swells for Vava’u, Ha’apai, Tongatapu, and ‘Eua coastal waters with heavy rain.

Tropical Depression 15F was located near 19.4 south and 176.8 east or about 890km west-northwest of Nuku’alofa at 10:00am on Monday, 4 April.

The system is moving southeast at about 26km/hr (14 knots). On its current track, the system is expected to lie about 550km northwest of Nuku’alofa or 570km west of Nomuka at around midnight tonight.

Near its center, the system is estimated to have an average winds speed of 37-46km/hr (20-25 knots) and probably increasing to Tropical Cyclone strength 65-74km/hr (35-40 knots) in the next 18 to 24 hours" the centre advised.

Vava’u, Ha’apai, Tongatapu and ‘Eua should expect east to northeast storm force winds with average speed of 46-56km/hr (25-30 knots). From tonight, probably increasing to 65-74km/hr (35-40 knots) in the next 18-24 hours.

Periods of rain are expected to be heavy at times, with squally thunderstorms and rough seas becoming very rough to high seas tomorrow, Tuesday 5 April.