14 Dec 2009

Cyclone Mick intensifying as it approaches Fiji's main island of Viti Levu

9:42 am on 14 December 2009

The tropical cyclone due to hit Fiji's main island of Viti Levu is intensifying as it aproaches land.

The Yasawa and Mamanuca islands are already feeling winds on the edges of the cyclone.

Weather forecasters are predicting that the centre of Cyclone Mick will hit on Monday evening.

It is currently about 160 kilometres northwest of Nadi and has been classified as category one.

It has changed course slightly and is now said to be heading directly for the main island of Viti Levu.

But the whole country has been put under a gale warning

Close to it's centre, Mick is estimated to have average winds of up to 75 kilometres an hour with gusts up to 125 kilometres an hour.

The Director of Fiji's Meteorological Service, Rajendra Prasad, says the strongest part of the cyclone will hit the Western Division later today:

"It is very hard to give precise timing for that, sometime this evening I would say and by midday or so the Cyclone should be passing the Yasawas and Mamanucas and then passing on and then this evneing make landfall over the main island of Viti Levau. It is hard to say precisely where, but I would say somewhere along the northwestern coast of Viti Levu."

The latest forecasts say Mick will lie 20 kilometres off Nadi at seven o'clock this evening local time

It is expected to bring squally thunderstorms and flooding to low lying areas and damage to some crops and light structures.