Photo Caption: Weather map at 12 noon on 14 December 2016)
The Tropical Disturbance (TD) 04F has shown signs of intensification over the last 24 hours and has been slow moving. TD04F was located near 14.5 South latitude and 175.3 East longitude or about 190km Southwest of Rotuma and about 430km North-northwest of Nadi at 1pm today.
Over the next 24 to 48 hours, TD04F is anticipated to gradually intensify and move from its current location to southeast towards Fiji and enter Fiji Waters tomorrow. The major concern over this period is heavy rain and strong winds associated with the system. It is anticipated that the system will become slow moving as it comes close to Fiji. Therefore, the following warnings remain in force for the Fiji Group:
• A “Heavy Rain Warning” is in force for whole of Fiji;
• A “Strong Wind Warning” is remains in force for land areas of Fiji; and
• A “Strong Wind Warning” remains in force for all Fiji Waters.
The chance of TD04F developing into a Tropical Cyclone over Fiji Waters has now been elevated to moderate levels (20% to 50%) and moderate to high in next 48 to 72 hours (>50%). If the system develops into a tropical cyclone, it is most likely to be a CAT 1 or marginal CAT 2 strength over Fiji Waters. Thus it will be less destructive compared to TC Winston or TC Pam.
Currently, parts of the country are experiencing temporary break in rain especially over Viti Levu and nearby islands. However, rain is continuing over Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Northern Lau Group and nearby smaller islands. Rain and isolated thunderstorms are expected to become frequent and heavy over most parts of the country from tomorrow with possible extension through the weekend as the system deepens and moves closer to Fiji.
Expect moderate to fresh northeast to southeast winds, gradually turning northerly and becoming strong and gusty with average speeds of 45km/hr and momentary gusts up to 60km/hr from later tomorrow.
Mariners should anticipate east to southeast winds with average speeds of 20 to 30 knots and gusting up to 35 knots and winds turning northerly from later tomorrow. Seas will become very rough and visibility will be poor in areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms.
The major concern is for localised heavy and flash flooding, with increased chance of flooding of major tributaries and rivers remain possible in the western and northern divisions. The system will be closely monitored and updates will be provided as any significant changes are anticipated.
It is advisable that all communities remain prepared at all times and take necessary precautions well ahead of start of heavy rain and strong winds. The public is advised to take alerts, warnings and advisories seriously and remain updated with the latest weather bulletins.
For more details and the latest on weather, please contact the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre on 6736006, 9905376 or visit the Fiji Meteorological Service’s website, www.met.gov.fj