TONGA NEWS

TC Yasa Weakens to Cat. 2 Storm

NUKU' ALOFA, Dec 19, 2020:: A gale warning is in force for Tongatapu and 'Eua land areas this morning, as Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa, now a weakening Cat. 2 system, is expected to lie at about 200km West of Nuku'alofa at 1:00pm today. Previous hurricane and storm warnings for Tonga were downgraded at 7:00am by the Tonga Meteorological Service. At 7:00am Saturday 19 December, (Advisory no. 13 on TC Yasa issued from the Fua'amotu Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre):

  • A strong wind warning was issued for Ha'apai land areas and coastal waters.
  • A strong wind warning was issued for Vava'u and the Niuas land areas and coastal waters, as well as Tele-ki-Tonga and Tele-ki-Tokelau.
  • A heavy rain warning and flash flood advisory remains in force for Ha'apai, Tongatapu and southern groups, and is cancelled for northern groups.
  • A heavy damaging swell warning remains in force for all of Tonga coastal waters

Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasa, now a Tropical Cyclone Category 2 system, was located about 270km northwest of Nuku’alofa at 4:00am Saturday morning. The system is moving Southeast about 6 knots (12km/hr). The sustained maximum winds near the centre are about 60 knots (120km/hr) with momentary gusts up to 75 knots (150km/hr). On its current track, TC Yasa is expected to lie at about 200km northwest of Nuku’alofa at 1:00pm today. Associated strong winds, gales and destructive storm force winds, cloudy conditions and periods of heavy rain and thunderstorms with very rough to high seas will affect whole of the group today.

FOR TONGATAPU AND 'EUA:

East to Northeast winds 15-20 knots (30-40km/hrs) rising up to strong winds of 25-30 knots (50-60km/hrs) with momentary gusts up to gale force winds 35-45knots (70-90km/hrs). Mostly cloudy and overcast with periods of occasional rain, heavy at times. Rough to very rough seas (up to 6-8 metres). A heavy damaging Northwesterly swell (up to 4-9 metres).

FOR HA'APAI:

East to Northeast winds 10-15knots (20-30km/hrs) with momentary gust up to strong force winds 20-30knots (40-60km/hrs) at times.
Mostly cloudy and overcast with periods of occasional rain, heavy at times. Rough to very rough seas (up to 6 metres). A heavy damaging Northwesterly swell (up to 4-8 metres).

For VAVA'U:

East to Northeast winds 10-15knots (20-30km/hrs) with momentary gust up to strong force winds 20-30knots (40-60km/hrs) at times. Mostly cloudy with occasional showers. Rough to very rough seas (up to 6 metres). A heavy damaging Northwesterly swell (up to 4-6 metres).

FOR THE NIUAS:

North to Northwest winds 10-15knots (20-30km/hrs) with momentary gust up to strong force winds 20-30knots (40-60km/hrs) at times. Mostly cloudy with occasional showers. Rough to very rough seas (up to 6 metres). A heavy damaging Northwesterly swell (up to 4-6 metres).

FOR TELE-KI-TONGA AND TELE-KI-TOKELAU COASTAL WATERS:

Southeast winds 20-25knots (40-50km/hrs) then rising up to 30-35 knots (60-70km/hrs). Moderate to rough seas (up to 4-6 metres). A heavy damaging Northwesterly swell (up to 4-9 metres).

High tide: 11:25am Saturday

Low tide: 17:22pm Saturday
The mean sea level pressure recorded at Fua'amotu Airport at 7:00am today was 1004.4 millibars, and the relative humidity was 95%.