Tropical Cyclone Yasa has rapidly intensified and is now a category 5 system as it heads towards us.
A Tropical Cyclone Alert remains in force for Yasawa and Mamanuca Group, Northern half of Viti Levu (from Nadi through to Korovou), Northern half of Vanua Levu (from Nabouwalu through to Votua to Labasa through to Udu Point), Lomaiviti and Rotuma.
The cyclone alert will be in force for the rest of the group from today.
A Heavy Rain Warning is now in force for the Yasawa and Mamanuca Group, eastern half of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands.
A Heavy Rain Alert is now in force for the rest of the Fiji Group.
A Flash Flood Alert remains in force for the low lying areas and areas adjacent to small streams for the interior of the main island; upper Nadarivatu, Monasavu, upper Wainimala, upper Sigatoka and upper Nadi area.
People need to take all the necessary precautionary measures as the Nadi Weather Office has analyzed that Cyclone Yasa will come right over Fiji as a very intense category 5 cyclone from tomorrow.
The Weather Office says Cyclone Yasa is located about 520 Kilometres West North West of Yasawa I rara .
Yasa is currently moving North East towards us at 8 kilometres per hour.
Forecasters say the effects will start from later today.
Continuous heavy rain is expected to result in flooding in parts of Fiji.
Strong to gale force winds will also start over Yasawa and Mamanuca from tonight.
Cyclone Yasa is expected to remain slow moving for the next 12 hours and remain over open waters.
From midday today, Yasa is expected to pick up speed as it tracks towards us.
Acting Director of the Nadi Weather Office, Terry Atalifo says Cyclone Yasa will maintain it’s intensity and is expected to become a category 5 with hurricane winds by the time the centre of the system lies over Yasawa and Mamanuca.
People living in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and other islands in the Fiji group can expect damaging to destructive winds from tomorrow.
Atalifo says Cyclone Yasa is a large system which has a distance of 400 kilometres from end to end. Please note that damaging to destructive winds, storm surges and heavy rain will affect areas hours before and after the centre of the cyclone passes.
Yasa’s centre is expected to go between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu from tomorrow to Friday, which means people can expect damaging to destructive winds, gusting to 230 kilometres per hour.
Atalifo says people in heavily populated areas like Suva to the Nausori corridor can expect damaging winds and heavy rain tomorrow and destructive to very destructive winds on Friday.
Cyclone Yasa may cause widespread power failure, blow away roofs and cause considerable damage to structures especially weak-structured houses and even cause damage to well-built houses.
Damaging winds can also uproot big trees and cause total damage to shallow-rooted plants and crops.
Due to anticipated widespread heavy rain, there is risk of river flooding and flash flooding of low lying and flood-prone areas.
From today we can expect high waves more than 6 metres over southwest Viti Levu waters, Yasawa and Mamanuca waters and Kadavu Passage.
Areas that can get affected by coastal flooding are Northern Vanua Levu (from Bua to Labasa onto Udu Point), Northern Viti Levu (from Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka to Ba, Rakiraki onto Tailevu) Mamanuca and Yasawa.
Avoid going out to sea as there are already high waves out in the open waters.
Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Zazu is currently over Tonga and is expected to drift southeastwards away from Tonga and poses no direct threat to the Fiji Group.
Please be prepared for the impending cyclone. Secure your homes, ensure that you or your neighbours do not have loose material that can fly around and cause damage during the devastating winds.
Have your supplies ready, have some standby food and water, ensure you have a transistor radio and batteries to follow the weather reports on Fijivillage and ensure you have emergency lights and torches.
Stay with us for developments.
Village headman of Yaroi in Matuku, Lau, Maikeli Lesukilakeba says while they are still in the process of rebuilding after TC Harold, they now have to focus on preparing for TC Yasa. Lesukilakeba says they will move to an evacuation centre located on high ground by this afternoon.
He has been working closely with the Weather Office staff in Matuku on disseminating information about Cyclone Yasa to the villagers.
He says they have already cleaned up the village and put up shutters on houses, especially the ones closer to the sea.
The village headman says the Weather Office has advised them that TC Yasa is going to be stronger than the last cyclone that caused havoc in Matuku. He says they are taking this seriously and have prepared accordingly.
Narikoso villagers in Ono, Kadavu are preparing themselves for the worst impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasa as it tracks closer to Fiji.
Semi Naqelevuki of Narikoso says he understands the impact of natural disasters on the village as he has gone through some of the worst cyclones that hit the country.
Naqelevuki says they have started to put up cyclone shutters in houses and are listening to the news for any updates on the weather.
He says they were one of the villages that were affected during TC Harold and Sarai at the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, village social committee member Kelepi Saukitoga says they have discussed to use some of the new houses and the community hall as evacuation centres as these structures are Category 4 resilient.
Saukitoga says keeping everyone safe is their top priority for now.
The President of the Labasa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Satish Chand says some businesses and people have begun preparations for TC Yasa as they can be seen putting up shutters and moving their stocks to higher shelves.
Chand says they are not taking the warning lightly as they have learnt the lesson from TC Winston and Harold.
However, he says people are not coming in numbers to buy essential items and he wants to urge them to start taking precautions now.
The Water Authority of Fiji says during a worst-case scenario, people may need to store water for at least 5 to 7 days as major damage to infrastructure will take some time to repair.
Chief Operating Officer Seru Soderberg says this is because severe damages to infrastructure is a possibility due to flooding and destructive winds associated with a category 5 cyclone.
Soderberg also says that blockages in the clarifier are usually due to high levels of turbidity and unfortunately if there is heavy rain then filters will get clogged.
However, he says they are currently conducting valve operations to get their reservoir levels as healthy as possible in anticipation of Tropical Cyclone Yasa.
Soderberg says this will enable them to sustain supply to people if there is a burst main and will give them enough time to fix the issue while customers continue to receive water.
He says they are also in the process of installing generator sets at all their critical water stations and areas which do not have generators will have bailing trucks to cater for any overflow.
Soderberg adds they are load testing which means they are putting the entire power requirements on the generator to ensure that it works.
The Ministry of Education has advised that all schools will be closed from today as a precautionary measure against Tropical Cyclone Yasa, except for Year 12 and 13 students who are sitting their exams.
Minister Rosy Akbar says heads of schools are advised to only allow students sitting external exams to attend school, as they have been working hard in studying and preparing for exams, and they do not want to disrupt their preparations.
Akbar says Year 1 to 11 students are to remain at home and parents are to ensure that these students do not travel to school tomorrow.
She says many of the schools will be used as evacuation centres during the cyclone.
The Minister has urged parents to be vigilant and ensure their children are protected from the intense weather conditions created by the cyclone and to ensure that they are not out during heavy winds and flooding.
Akbar says the Ministry will continue to monitor the situation and give an update on tomorrow’s papers.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is urging communities to use this time to trim tree branches, clean drains, board up homes, prepare emergency kits, and take other steps to keep homes and communities safe.
Bainimarama says we should all prepare now for heavy rain, damaging winds, coastal inundation and flooding across the country.
He says we should not be caught off guard by this storm.
Bainimarama has also urged fishermen not go out fishing as this is not the time to test their skills at sea.
He says fishermen should listen to warnings and wait until they are given clearance to do so as no fish is worth the risk.
The Prime Minister is calling on people to know the location of their nearest evacuation centre.
He says people can use "Find my EC" by texting "EC" to 132877 using viber, messenger or sms or call 3319250.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations