Tropical Cyclone Tomas slowly moves from Fiji - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tropical Cyclone Tomas slowly moves from Fiji

Joe Soecker Joe Soecker

SUVA, Fiji (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tomas is a powerful cyclone, but there is some good news for Fijians -- it is moving away. However, it's taking its time getting out of the neighborhood. While approaching Fiji, Tomas appeared stronger as it made its closest approach to Fiji, the eye threading its way through the North Fiji Islands. But the storm is starting to lose some definition on our satellite imagery.

Tomas was a strong category 4 storm when it was closer to Fiji, but is now a category 3 storm with winds of 132 miles per hour with stronger gusts. Again, it is taking its time moving away from Fiji, moving only southwest at 4 miles per hour. However, its forecast path shows that it should pick up forward speed over the next few days as it heads into cooler waters.

In the hours before Tropical Cyclone Tomas made landfall residents were busy, bracing for the worst. They rushed to stores to stock up on emergency supplies and boarded up their windows under strengthening winds.

We spoke with one resident of Fiji as the storm started to make landfall.

"We've had a lot of reports of big trees coming down the northern island, damaged hospitals, lots of flooding. About 7,000 people evacuated in the north. Didn't have any communication with northern islands since last night because all the cell phone towers are probably damaged so everyone's just sort of waiting it out," Fiji resident Joe Soecker said.

There are reports of widespread power outages and flooding. Flights are canceled in and out of Fiji and schools were ordered to close until Thursday.

We'll be sure to follow the reports out of there and update you as soon as we get more information.

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