12 Mar 2014

Cyclone Lusi expected to upgrade as it leaves Vanuatu

10:44 pm on 12 March 2014

A tropical cyclone gale warning is in force for Fiji's Yasawas, the Mamanuca group and parts of the western division as Lusi moves away from Vanuatu.

The category 2 cyclone has affected thousands of homes in Vanuatu, and while local disaster officials are just beginning to asses the damage, unconfirmed reports already put the death toll at one.

Lusi is expected to intensify to a category 3 cyclone overnight while moving southeast over the waters of southern Vanuatu and Fiji.

A damaging heavy swell warning is in place for the same areas while there is a strong wind warning for the rest of Fiji.

Tropical Cyclone Lusi has sustained winds of 110 kilometres per hour, and gusts of up to 160 at its centre.

Overnight Lusi damaged roads, crops, and houses as it passed over northeastern Vanuatu.

The Fiji Meteorological Office is warning of thunderstorms and flooding in coastal areas tomorrow.