• TC WINSTON passed near the Vava'u islands (Tonga) on 16 Feb morning (UTC), with max. sustained winds of 100-120 km/h, then it continued moving east strengthening.
• Over the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving east and then turn south-west on 18 Feb, strengthening further.
• According to the forecasting data of 17 Feb 6.00 UTC, it could move again close to Vava’u islands on 19 Feb, as an intense Tropical Cyclone, with max. sustained winds of 200-210 km/h. The uncertainty of the forecast track and intensity after 18 Feb is still very high.
• Based on this forecast, very strong winds, heavy rains and storm surge may affect Vava'u and Ha'apai groups of islands on 18-22 Feb. Strong winds and heavy rains may also affect Niue island over the next 48 h.
• Heavy rains have already been affecting Tonga. Local media reported minor damages in Vava'u and Ha'apai islands and they also reported that 140 people had been evacuated in these islands, as of 17 Feb.
SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONES IN TONGA (2014 - 2013)
• 2014 – TC IAN: it moved throughout Tonga on 10-11 January 2014 with max. sustained wind of 220-230 km/h. Strong winds and heavy rains caused the death of one person and damaged over 1 100 buildings.
• 2016 - TC ULA: it moved between Tonga and Fiji islands on 1 – 3 Jan 2016, with max. sustained winds of 160-170 km/h. It affected Tonga (especially Vava’u islands) with strong winds and heavy rains. Media reported floods and a number of damaged houses in some areas of Tonga.