Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Gita expected to hit Tonga

A graphic from the Fiji Meteorological Service shows Tropical Cyclone Gita's path. The storm is expected to be a Category 5 by the time it makes contact with Tonga. Image by Fiji Meteorological Service

Feb. 12 (UPI) — Officials in Tonga declared a state of emergency Sunday as a potential Category 5 cyclone makes its way toward the South Pacific island nation.

Tropical Cyclone Gita is expected to make landfall between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time. Wind speeds are expected to lash the island at 124 to 142 miles per hour with torrential rains and waves up to 30 feet high, according to Weather Watch.

“We’re talking about Category 5, the strongest category for a cyclone,” said Ofa Fa’anunu, the director of Tonga’s Meteorological Service. “We need to move now to evacuation centers. No one will be able to move about tonight.”

“We have not had a category five cyclone strike the main island before and everyone is wondering how strong it will be,” said Polikalepo Kefu, Tonga’s Red Cross communications manager, according to The Guardian. “Tourists have mostly evacuated or they are staying in their hotels and being looked after by their heads of mission.”

Gita already caused significant damage in Samoa and American Samoa, where it made landfall as a Category 3 storm. But the storm strengthened as it moved south, officials said


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here