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28 Dec 2019 | 01:20 AM UTC

Tonga: Weather warnings issued ahead of Tropical Cyclone Sarai December 28-29

Tonga Meteorological Service issues weather warnings ahead of Tropical Cyclone Sarai to impact between December 28-29; heavy rain, strong wind, flashflooding, and rough seas expected



The Tonga Meteorological Service (TMS) issued warnings at 20:00 (local time) on Saturday, December 28, ahead of the passage of Tropical Cyclone Sarai on Saturday and Sunday, December 29. The TMS forecasts strong winds between 50-60 kph (31-37 mph), heavy rain and isolated thunderstorms, flashfloods, and rough seas across Tonga. Weather officials are advising mariners of small boats to avoid going out to sea, and have also warned of poor visibility in areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms. 

As of 16:00 on Saturday, Sarai was located at approximately 20.0°S 177.7°E (map here) and moving east-southeast at a speed of 15 kph (9 mph) with winds up to 110 kph (68 mph). Associated flooding, landslides, transportation and business disruptions are anticipated, as well as disruptions to power and communication services, in the coming hours and days.  


Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, anticipate transportation and business disruptions, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters; 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult.