The main island of Tonga may be in danger of what officials fear could be the most powerful hurricane ever to hit that Pacific island nation.
According to CNN, Tropical Cyclone Gita is heading right for Tonga’s capital city Nuku’alofa. Winds of 134 miles per hour and 10 inches of rain were expected to fall Monday.
The nation, which has about 64,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an LDS temple, is expected to suffer flooding and storm surges over the next day or two.
The Tongan Red Cross said that the nation may suffer a direct hit.
The storm “could be the most powerful in the country’s history,” Tongan Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell told CNN.
“We are urging people to seek refuge from this severe cyclone,” Caldwell said.
Polikalepo Kefu, Tonga’s Red Cross communications manager, told The Guardian that people are “very fearful” of the storm.
“We have not had a Category 5 cyclone strike the main island before, and everyone is wondering how strong is will be,” he said. “Tourists have mostly evacuated or they are staying in their hotels and being looked after by their heads of mission.”
The National Weather Service Ocean Prediction shared an image of the storm’s trajectory.
Tropical Cyclone #Gita churning across the South Pacific, bearing down on Tonga — latest from JTWC: https://t.co/IK6aPzOCy6 pic.twitter.com/8s9XeN9Svv
— NWS OPC (@NWSOPC) February 12, 2018
The storm will likely weaken to what would be the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean and will hit Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, according to The Guardian.
Gita previously struck American Samoa and Samoa over the weekend, leaving both island nations underwater, according to Reuters. About 300 people were removed from their homes.
Pics just in of #Samoa Red Cross teams carrying out assessments & supporting people in evacuation centres following Cyclone #Gita #TCGita Photo credit: Samoa Red Cross pic.twitter.com/tG4SiNS2XC
— Hanna Butler – Red Cross (@hannarosebutler) February 11, 2018
Source:: Deseret News – World News