4 Jan 2016

Cyclone Ula causes minor damage in Fiji

2:10 pm on 4 January 2016

Initial reports from Fiji's Lau group say Cyclone Ula has caused no major damage as the category three system passed through the archipelago in the past 24 hours after hitting northern Tonga on Saturday.

The Disaster Management Office says reports from Ono-i-Lau and Kabara say there were no casualties and no significant structural damage, but some corrugated iron roofs were blown away.

Map tracking Cyclone Ula

Map tracking Cyclone Ula Photo: Fiji Met Service

The Office says root crops have been damaged by the strong winds.

Many people sought shelter in safe structures at the height of the storm.

The cyclone, which is still producing average winds of 140 kilometres an hour and gusts of more than 190 kilometres an hour, has now moved about 230 kilometres past Ono-i-Lau.

Forecasters say Cyclone Ula is expected to maintain its southwesterly direction but will weaken tomorrow when it will make a sharp turn to the northwest.

Four men still missing off northern Viti Levu

Police say they are searching for two fishermen from Ba who left for a fishing trip last Tuesday but failed to return.

In a separate incident, police have called off the search for two fishermen from Volivoli, Rakiraki, because of the adverse weather conditions.

The men left Volivoli on a fishing trip on Friday but failed to return.

The search is expected to resume once conditions improve.

A strong wind warning is force for most of Fiji and mariners in all of Fiji waters are warned of rough to very rough seas.