Cyclone Rene is located 200 nautical miles (370 km) southwest of Nukualofa this morning. Cyclone Rene is weakening rapidly as it is now in colder waters and is moving southwest at 13 knots. Close to its centre, the cyclone is estimated to have average sustained winds of 60 knots making it a borderline Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
Cyclone Rene battered the southern Tonga Group of Ha'apai and the main island of Tongatapu and 'Eua yesterday as a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale after battering the Vava'u Group the day before. There are widespread reports of tree and crop damage across all Groups, and most communications and power are still out, although they are being slowly restored. Initial reports are outlining widespread minor to locally moderate damage to homes, but less less structural damage than was earlier estimated. Considerable beach erosion and coastal flooding occurred in some areas.
Government and NGOs teams will be spreading out across the affected Tonga groups today and tomorrow to do rapid surveys of the situation.
Cyclone warnings have been lowered in all areas.
Please go to http://www.afap.org/apcedi/ for the complete interactive alert on Cyclone Rene.
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posted by Bird Explorers at 1:42 PM