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Tonga warning cancelled as Tropical Cyclone Ian veers towards Fiji

Tuesday January 7, 2014 - 13:51 EDT
ABC licensed image
Tropical Cyclone Ian can be seen east of Fiji with the northern Tongan island group of Ha'apai and Va'vau under cloud and the capital Nuku'alofa to the south of the system. - ABC licensed

A tropical cyclone alert which was issued for Tonga as the first cyclone of the 2013-2014 South Pacific season, has now been cancelled.

The Tonga Meteorological services cancelled the alert but said a strong wind warning remains in force for Ha'apai, Vava'u and the Niuas.

Ha'apai is about 135 kilometres north of the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa, while Vava'u is about 305 kilometres north of the capital.

The heavy rain advisory will remain in force for waters west of Vava'u and the Niuas.

Tropical cyclone Ian was located about 220 kilometres west of Vava'u at 10pm Monday with estimated winds of 40kt near its centre and momentary gusts of up to 55kt.

"The cyclone is currently moving west at about 4kt away from Tonga," Tonga Meteorological services said.

Principal Scientific Officer with forecasting at the Fiji Bureau of Meteorology and regional Tropical Cyclone Centre Misaeli Funaki says it's now heading for Fiji, but isn't expected to make landfall there.

"Over the next few hours we expect it to take a southward turn, and then it will gradually track towards the southeast away from Fiji," he said.

Weather warnings have been issued for Fiji's outer islands.


© ABC 2014

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