13 Feb 2006

Cyclone affects Tonga's public services

2:48 pm on 13 February 2006

Virtually all schools throughout Tonga have suspended classes for the day due to the threat of strong winds associated with tropical cyclone Vaianu.

It's understood that most government and public services are also being affected by today's conditions.

Continous rain since yesterday has flooded low-lying areas and power services have been disrupted.

The lead forecaster at the Fiji Met Service, Ali Pate, says Vaianu is currently located about 205 kilometres to the northwest of Nuku'alofa, at 20.1 south and 176.8 W.

"At the moment, it's not forecast to move over, or closer to the capital of Tonga but it is expected to drift further to the west, or keep to the west of Nuku'alofa and pass southward."

Mr Pate says the cyclone has winds of 110 kilometres per hour at its centre and is expected to continue in a southerly direction.