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Cyclone Evan Pummels Nadi

As this NASA satellite image reveals the storm winds were very tightly packed as it slammed into Viti Levu yesterday.

© 2012 NASA

Although the islands of Fiji are often referred to as a tropical paradise, they’ve been more like a tropical hell for the past 24 hours, as Tropical Cyclone Evan battered the island nation’s western portions — including Nadi, the third largest population center, and nearby Vuda Point Marina, where many cruising boats lay over for the season.

Radar imagery from yesterday afternoon showed the broad extent of Evan’s rainfall.

© 2012 Fiji MET Center

According to New Zealand sources, the Category Four storm’s ferocious winds, which gusted to 145 knots (168 mph), lashed the country’s largest island, Viti Levu, destroying homes, uprooting trees and causing widespread utility outages. In addition to damage caused by the strong storm surge, flooding was expected to take a heavy toll, as torrents of rain water run down from the watersheds of this tall, mountainous island.

Vuda Point Marina personnel did all they could to stress the severity of the oncoming storm.

Red Sky
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Reports indicate that at least two large commercial vessels — one a bulk carrier and the other a container ship — went aground at the entrance to Suva Harbor (on the eastern side of Viti Levu, opposite Nadi), so the storm’s wrath was undoubtedly violent there also. Suva is also a popular layover for cruising sailors. Due to power outages, we’ve found little direct reporting by cruisers on the scene, but we do know that they made exhaustive preparations in the days leading up to the deluge.

In anticipation of such storms, Vuda Point has a long tradition of digging in the keels of visiting yachts. Hopefully, that tactic spared most of them from extensive damage.

Red Sky
© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The storm system — which rotates clockwise, as it is in the Southern Hemisphere — is expected to clear the Fijian islands today and dive south toward New Zealand, arriving a couple of days prior to Christmas. The colder sea water it will encounter en route, however, will undoubtedly diminish its strength.


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