Fijivillage has a report from 8 a.m. today (Monday) written apparently for mariners, and a graphic of the possible route of the cyclone, now Category 4. Most news items talk about a cyclone as if it lasts a few minutes or hours but really it is usually two days of continuous wind and rain which can cause enormous damage. Near the centre is of course a murderous wind. The Australian newspapers showed their disregard when they give only about ten lines to Fiji and only talk about tourists. One article noted that electricity is now off in Labasa and many people have moved to evacuation centres, mainly schools.
from Fiji village:
Hurricane Warning Update: 8am
Monday, March 15, 2010
Severe Tropical Cyclone TOMAS Category 4
Update: 8:AM THE following is hurricane warning 028 Issued from RSMC NADI at 7.48am Monday (Mar 14/1848 UTC 2010 Fiji Daylight Saving Time is UTC plus 13 hours).
TROPICAL CYCLONE TOMAS CENTRE 940HPA CATEGORY 4 WAS LOCATED NEAR 15.2 SOUTH 179.5 WEST AT 141800 UTC. POSITION FAIR. CYCLONE MOVING SOUTH 06 KNOTS. EXPECT SUSTAINED WINDS OF 90 KNOTS CLOSE TO THE CENTRE INCREASING TO 105 KNOTS IN THE NEXT 18 TO 24 HOURS. EXPECT WINDS OVER 63 KNOTS WITHIN 40 NAUTICAL MILES OF THE CENTRE. EXPECT WINDS OVER 47 KNOTS WITHIN 60 NAUTICAL MILES OF THE CENTRE. EXPECT WINDS OVER 33 KNOTS WITHIN 150 NAUTICAL MILES OF THE CENTRE. FORECAST POSITION NEAR 16.3S 179.6W AT 150600 UTC. AND NEAR 17.6S 179.7W AT 151800 UTC. ALL VESSELS WITHIN 300 NAUTICAL MILES OF THE CENTRE ARE REQUESTED TO SEND REPORTS EVERY THREE HOURS TO RSMC NADI. VOS REPORTING SHIPS USE NORMAL CHANNELS.
OTHER VESSELS FAX PLUS 679 6720190 OR EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org.
(later about 8 p.m. Fiji time)
I phoned Labasa again and the mobile phone worked, but my family there don't have electricity and there is a curfew on movement. The young woman who answered the phone said the wind is very strong and it's raining and the cane crops are damaged and there surely will be flooding in the Labasa area. This is a household on the outskirts of Labasa town with about seven people inside a small wooden house in Tuatua housing area. I haven't contacted the family in the village of Vatuadova so I hope their wooden houses are strong. Isa Viti with so much trouble after a lot of hard work on the farms.