Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cyclone Winston - Update 5

Cyclone Winston Hits Fiji's Main Island - Viti Levu 

(CNN) The most powerful storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere is reintensifying over open waters after making landfall in Fiji on Saturday evening.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said winds were clocked at nearly 162 mph with gusts at nearly 200 mph, and is expected to batter the popular tourist destination with heavy flooding, rain and damaging winds

Fears of mudslides, coastal inundation

"This is a mountainous nation, and that means any heavy rainfall will filter down to the lower elevations -- meaning landslides, mudslides and flooding," said CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Had it occurred in the Atlantic, Winston would have been a category 5 hurricane, but because of hemispheric nomenclature, it's dubbed a cyclone. (In the Northwest Pacific, it would be a typhoon; all three are the same weather phenomenon). 

"As a nation, we are facing an ordeal of the most grievous kind," Bainimarama (Fiji's Prime Minister) said. "We must stick together as a people and look after each other."

Bainimarama, who said that the government is "thoroughly prepared to deal with this crisis," declared a state of emergency that will be in effect for the next 30 days, according to the Fiji Times.  

CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said the storm will continue to track to the west before making a turn to the south over the next few days. It is expected to "keep strength as it continues on its path in open waters," he said. 

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