All the islands of Tonga should prepare for a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone to arrive over the weekend 18-19 January, Tonga Met Services advised today.
A tropical disturbance (TD) 04F now developing in the Western Pacific, is expected to intensify into a Tropical Cyclone in the next 24-48 hours, Tonga Met stated at 1:00pm.
While the system is still far away from Tonga at this point of time, it is expected that TD04F will track Eastwards in the next 12-24 hours before it turns to make a Southeast movement toward Fiji on Friday, and then Tonga. The weather as we head into this weekend is expected to deteriorate as the system moves closer to our Tonga waters and land areas.
“The system is also expected to reach Category 2 strength over the weekend. However, the chances for this system to reach Category 3 is also likely possibility. The people of Tonga are hereby advised to prepare for at least a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone,” Tonga Met stated.
At 12pm local time this afternoon, the slow moving Tropical Disturbance (TD) 04F was analyzed to be approximately at 13.0S, 170.3E or around 1515km West of Niuafo’ou, 1720km West of Niuatoputapu, 1770km of West-Northwest Vava’u, 1780km West-Northwest of Ha’apai, 1765km West-Northwest of Tongatapu and about 1805km West-Northwest of ‘Eua.
A Forecast track map shows that as the system moves closer to the Tonga Group, the onset of Strong, Gales (damaging) to Storm (destructive) force winds is expected to affect the whole of Tonga, from the Niuas, Vava‘u, Ha‘apai and down to Tongatapu and ‘Eua starting on early Saturday morning and lasting until Monday 20 January 2020.
Coastal inundation and erosion from sea flooding is also expected, with periods of heavy rain that can possibly cause flash flooding in low lying areas is also anticipated as the system moves closer to our area accompanied by very rough seas and heavy damaging swells.
Tonga Met is monitoring the situation. Refer to www.met.gov.to.