Vava’u, Ha’apai, Tongatapu and ‘Eua on hurricane alert as Gita strengthens

'Oku tuku atu heni ha fakatokanga matangi mālohi fakatupu maumau ki Vava'u, Ha'apai, Tongatapu mo 'Eua. Ko e matangi ni ‘oku katekōlia tolu hono mālohi hili ‘ene mavahe mei Ha’amoa 'aneefiafi. ‘A ia kuo ne ‘osi fakahoko ha maumau ai hangē ko e tāfea pea motumotuhi mo e ‘uhila. ‘Oku fakafuofua ‘e toe mālohi ange ‘a e matangi ni ‘o ala a’u ki he katekōlia 4 ‘i he’ene fakaofi ki Tonga. Pehē mei he Vakai Matangi 'a Tonga 'e ala fai 'e he matangi ni ha maumau lahi 'i Tonga 'i he Mōnite

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Hurricane Gita strengthened to a Category 3 storm before it left Samoa on Saturday 10 en route for Niue and Tonga.

Tonga Met Service said at 1am this morning Sunday 11: “A severe tropical cyclone Gita, category 3, was located near 18.5 south 168.8 west or 540km east of Vava’u at 1:00am this morning.

“Close to the centre, the cyclone is expected to have average of 70 knots possibly increasing to 80 knots.

“The cyclone is moving south-southeast about 14 knots. Very destructive winds are expected from Monday morning.”

New Zealand media said Gita is only going to get worse and is expected to go up at least another level to a category 4.

Radio New Zealand said Gita caused damage to power lines across Samoa, cutting electricity to thousands of households.

Gita was set to pass near Niue tonight before heading just to the south of Tonga, where there was a chance of sustained wind speeds reaching more than 150km/h and waves over 10 metres, reported New Zealand Herald.

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