11 Jan 2014

Cyclone Ian being felt in Tonga, destructive winds warning

12:13 pm on 11 January 2014

Severe tropical cyclone Ian is being felt in Tonga, with forecasters warning to expect destructive hurricane force winds close to 200 kilometres an hour.

Earlier this morning cyclone Ian had been upgraded to the highest category 5, but has since been revised down to a category four.

A hurricane warning for the Vava'u and Ha'apai group remains in force as does a gale warning for the Tongatapu group.

A strong wind warning remains in force for the rest of tonga.

At midday Saturday, weather forecasters were warning of very destructive hurricane force winds with an average speed of close to 200 kilometres an hour, and gusts close to 170 kilometers.

Heavy rain, thunderstorms, flooding, phenomenal seas and damaging heavy swells are also expected.