Tropical Cyclone Tomas

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Thanks "Charles G. Kick" for this. Cyclone Tomas is expected to enter the Fiji group sometime late tomorrow Saturday or early Sunday based on its current speed and intensity. It is expected to  be upgraded to a grade 3 hurricane.
UP-DATE
Tomas on par with Bebe, officials say
13/03/2010

Fiji’s emergency service personnel say the magnitude of Cyclone Tomas approaching the country is on par with Hurricane Bebe that stormed Fiji in 1972 killing over 180.

And they were not taking the threat posed by Tomas lightly as the nation is on full alert, bracing itself for the storm now heading for Fiji’s shores.

National Emergency Operations Centre spokesperson Anthony Blake said Tomas will quickly develop into a Category 3 storm overnight and by the time it reaches Vanua Levu tomorrow night, it could be at Category 4.

“It’s much larger than Mick that hit us last December, it’s on the same scale as Bebe,” Blake said.

He said all the emergency services were on standby including fire and medical personnel, police, army and the Red Cross.

“The Prime Minister is taking the threat seriously and all emergency services are ready to tackle whatever comes our way.”

Disaster Management spokesperson Pajiliai Dobui said villages and outlying islands were bracing themselves for Tomas.

“Cyclones have been in Fiji for eternity and the people out there are well adapted to this,” Dobui said.

He confirmed Ovalau as the evacuation centre for the Lomaiviti group of islands, Vunisea for Kadavu and Suva for the Lau group.

He said these locations were fitted with communications gear and they were working with Vodafone and Digicel to assure ongoing communication with remote areas.

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