Cyclone Gita: NZ and Australia monitor path of storm

The forecast trajectory of cyclone Gita

The forecast trajectory of cyclone Gita

He has stressed that people to listen to weather bulletins, remain alert and be prepared at all times adding that should the stronger winds expand the Weather Office will adjust the projected tracks as the information comes on hand.

Tonga has declared a state of emergency as it prepares to be battered by a category 4-strength Tropical Cyclone Gita.

Cyclone Gita is expected to be upgraded to a category five by seven tonight, packing winds of over 200 kilometres an hour.

The storm was forecast to make landfall later on Monday and into Tuesday, with "very destructive hurricane force winds", "very rough to high seas", and "a heavy southeast damaging swell on coastal areas".

According to Samoa Observer, the state's newspaper, cyclone Gita also ripped through American Samoa, damaging roads and causing floodings.

The storm is forecast to be closest to the main island of Tongatapu at around midnight.

Tropical Cyclone Gita formed on Tuesday over the Wallis and Fortuna Islands in the southwest Pacific, headed east to the Samoan Islands and is now continuing its clockwise motion and aiming directly for Tonga.

"It is now moving west towards the southern islands in Tonga, and has the potential to strengthen to a category 5 with winds in the centre reaching 200km/h".

Ofa Fa'anunu from the Tonga Meteorological service says Gita will be the strongest cyclone on record to hit the Kingdom.

Tonga Police said the Tonga national emergency committee has recommended the acting Prime Minister should declare a state of emergency.

Niwa principal forecaster Chris Brandolino told Morning Report Tonga would face a direct hit or close to it.

The Red Cross said residents were racing to identify strong buildings to which to evacuate and clean up debris such as loose wood or metal that could turn into risky missiles during expected winds of up to 185 kilometres per hour.

"People are going battening down the hatches and this kind of preparedness works, it saves lives".

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