28 Jan 2009

Tonga hit by strong winds

11:40 am on 28 January 2009

The strong winds associated with a Tropical Cyclone Alert in Tonga is severely affecting Tongatapu, Vava'u and Tofua.

The alert has also been issued for Ha'apai, and 'Eua groups.

The Tonga National Weather Forecasting Centre says a Tropical Depression formed over Tonga which curved southwards last night is expected to turn towards the southwest later today.

Assistant Forecaster, Ofa Taumoefolau, gales of up to 160 kilometres have hit near the Island of Tofua while 285 kilometre winds were recorded near the outer island of Vava'u this morning.

He says other areas have also been affected.

"Average winds, 15 to 25 knots especially in the north in Tonga but here in the main Island of Tongatapu, we have experienced moderate to fresh winds with continuous rain."

Ofa Taumoefolau of the Tonga National Weather Forecasting Centre.