Cyclone Evan threatens Fiji

Dec. 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM

NADI, Fiji, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Emergency officials on Fiji warned the Pacific island's residents Sunday that Tropical Cyclone Evan was closing in with strong winds and heavy rain.

Evan rolled across Samoa last week and could be the worst cyclone to hit Fiji in 20 years, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said.

"We expect Suva and Nadi to start experiencing damaging gale force winds within the next 24 hours." said Shalwin Singh, a forecaster for the Fiji Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre.

Evan was a sprawling category 4 storm on Sunday with winds up to 230 kilometers per hour (143 mph). ABC said northeastern Fiji was already seeing weather deteriorate and residents were scrambling to batten down their homes and businesses.

Fiji's main airport was busy with tourists flying out ahead of the storm and Fijians were being urged to stick up on emergency supplies and stay on higher ground until the storm passes.

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