Tropical Cyclone Winston now over Fiji waters

Tropical Cyclone Winston has upgraded to a Category 5 system and has entered the Fiji waters.

This means that it has average winds of up to 205 kilometres per hour to 285 kilometres per hour.

The Nadi Weather Office says the eye of the cyclone was located 130 kilometres North-Northeast of Lakeba in the Lau Group at 7am today.

Fijivillage has received confirmation that Cyclone Winston is currently passing over Vanuabalavu.

Speaking to residents in Vanuabalavu on a satellite phone, they said that some houses were badly damaged early this morning and people rushed to other houses to seek shelter.

We have also received confirmation that some significant structures have been badly damaged.

There is also confirmation that three houses in Tubou village in Lakeba had their rooftops blown away by strong winds this morning.

Tubou villager, Ilaitia Delaimoala says the three families are now staying at the Tubou village hall.

Delaimoala says some families have also voluntarily moved to Ratu Finau Memorial School.

Evacuation centres have also been activated in Naikeleyaga village in Kabara.

Naikeleyaga villager, Qalo Lelea says some villagers are now staying at the Naikeleyaga village school and the village hall.

He says others are staying at the government quarters.

Lelea says they started experiencing strong and devastating winds with heavy rain from 3 this morning.

TC Winston will then move past to Koro Island and then onwards to Viti Levu.

The eye of the cyclone is now forecast to make landfall north of Nausori near Korovou on eastern Viti Levu.

Tropical Cyclone Winston is expected to lie 130 kilometers north of Suva at 9pm tonight.

At this time, best indications are that the centre of the cyclone will make landfall north of Nausori close to Korovou and Natovi on Sunday morning.

NaDraki says this system poses a direct and very serious threat to Fiji.

Heavy rain, dangerous storm surges and very destructive storm to hurricane force winds are forecast to affect Fiji.

Destructive winds will be experienced in Lau this morning as there is a hurricane warning for the group.

Currently, the cyclone is moving westwards at around 25 kilometres per hour.

For the North and West, there will be showers increasing and tending to rain with heavy falls developing.

Expect strong winds in the North and West from today.

Damaging to destructive winds may begin several hours before the cyclone centre passes overhead or nearby.

It is likely to still be a category 3 cyclone as it exits Viti Levu close to Nadi early late Sunday morning.

Residents are being urged to secure their homes and ensure that there are no weak structures around.

During cyclones, there are water and power cuts and residents are being advised to store water, stock up canned food and also get a transistor radio and batteries to listen to the weather updates.