Winston biggest cyclone to hit Fiji - Solomon Star News

Winston biggest cyclone to hit Fiji

21 February 2016

Suva (Fiji Sun) - Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston is the most powerful recorded cyclone to hit Fiji. Ever.

As it carved its way across the country last Saturday, it left behind a trail of destruction in its path.

The monster storm, packing 230 kilometres an hour winds and gusting to 325kmh, has destroyed homes, properties and crops, cut power, communication and transport, and brought heavy seas and flooding.

Akapusi Tuifagalele, Director for National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), said: “Fiji Meteorological Office has confirmed this is the biggest cyclone ever.”

The commercial NaDraki weather service said yesterday: “The threat to life and property is extreme.”

The last most powerful cyclone was Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Evan of December 17, 2012. It struck with sustained winds of 216 kilometres per hour, as the storm’s southern eyewall – the most intense part of the storm–brought hurricane conditions to a long stretch of the north and west coasts of Viti Levu.

According to a database maintained by US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Evan was the strongest tropical cyclone on record to affect Viti Levu, with records going back to 1941 (however, accurate satellite records extend back to only about 1990.)

Evan did $109 million in damage (2012 dollars) to Fiji, making it the second most destructive storm in our history.

The most devastating cyclone in recent decades was Cyclone Kina of January 1993, which killed 23 people and did $100 million in damage (1993 dollars.)

The only deadlier storm than Kina was Category 3 Cyclone Eric of 1985, which made a direct hit on Eastern Viti Levu, killing 25.