17 Dec 2012

Evan strengthens overnight as Fiji waits

6:57 am on 17 December 2012

Tropical cyclone Evan has intensified overnight as Fiji prepares for it to hit.

The category four cyclone is expected to pass near the northern group today, with wind gusts of up to 260 kilometres per hour.

A hurricane warning is in force for Yasawa and Mamanuca, where it is expected to arrive about midday.

More than 2-thousand people have spent the night in evacuation centres

Duty forecaster Terry Atalifo says Evan is just to the north of Vanua Levu.

"It has slightly intensified overnight, but we think it has most probably reached its maximum intensity, and for the next 24 hours we anticipate this cyclone to maintain its intensity before it weakens."

Terry Atalifo says the cyclone will have passed over most of Fiji before it weakens.

A reporter with Legend FM in Suva William Waqavakatoga says reports are coming in of strong winds and rain in the Northern division.

But he says there have been no reports of destruction.

We've been speaking to the village of Yasawa-I-rara and they are saying it's been the same through the evening and into this morning in terms of the wind fluctuating, but the severity...they're still waiting for something big to happen and it hasn't happened yet. They're very much aware of what can happen, what the cyclone did in Samoa, and what can happen in Fiji.