FHTA Situational Update No. 18

Members are requested to be aware of the following information:

1. TC Harold Tracking South Eastwards, Closer to the Fiji Group

In the past 6 hours it has become apparent that there have been further adjustments to the forecast track of TC Harold. The most recent forecast has pushed the track further northward bringing the centre closer to Viti Levu and nearer to the larger population centres in the west and south of Fiji as it makes its closest approach to Fiji during the day tomorrow (Wednesday).
The latest special weather bulletin has now pushed Kadavu and Ono i Lau into the expected zone of very destructive hurricane force winds. Damaging gale and storm force winds are expected over all of Viti Levu, the Mamanuca and Yasawa groups, Lomaiviti, central and southern Lau, and nearby smaller islands.
It must be stressed that the current forecasts continue to indicate that the cyclone will not make landfall over any of the islands of Fiji, but this may change yet and you should stay alert to the risk of landfall increasing if further changes to the track of the cyclone are observed. At this time the timing of the closest approach to Fiji is expected to be around 3pm tomorrow when the cyclone will be about 180 km south of Nadi and 70km west of Kadavu.
At that time TC Harold is forecast to be a strong category 4 tropical cyclone with winds gusting to 220 kph or about 120 knots. Wind intensities for specific locations are contained within the warning. You should refer to that for the specific of your location.
Rainfall will increase tonight and will be heavy for long periods over the next 24 to 36 hours. Widespread flooding is expected, especially over the larger islands. Fortunately the timing of the closest approach will occur just after low tide, helping to minimize the sea flooding due to storm surges, however high tide tomorrow morning around 7 to 8 am may see some significant river flooding about the Nadi River especially.
Remember to make sure that if you are seeking shelter or undertaking preparations you are expected to maintain the COVID-19 isolation and hygiene standards to the best that you can, and follow all instructions from relevant authorities. DO NOT SWIM IN FLOOD WATERS! (Na Draki Weather)
For more details and the latest on weather, please contact the National Weather Forecasting Centre on 6736006, 9905376 or visit the Fiji Meteorological Service’s website, www.met.gov.fj.
For a full list of evacuation centres in the Eastern & Western Division, click HERE.
To read the full weather advisory, click HERE
2. New Case of COVID-19
Government announced today of one new confirmed case of COVID-19, which brings Fiji’s total to 15.
3. Cessation of Lautoka Lockdown
At 0500hrs this morning, the cordon around the greater Lautoka area has been lifted. The neighbourhood of Kashmir, which was earmarked to remain on lockdown, has been given the all-clear after the negative COVID-19 test of the suspected case from yesterday. Only Suva City and Soasoa, Labasa are under lockdown.
4. Aircraft Movements
Fiji Airways will undertake several freight, charter and passenger evacuation flights today. Evacuation flights will be operated to Sydney and Los Angeles. A charter service will also operate to Brisbane, while a freighter service on a Fiji Airways A330-200 will operate to Auckland.
The airline also positioned its other A330 aircraft in Brisbane and Sydney due to the appro ach of Tropical Cyclone Harold. Aircraft will return to Fiji once the cyclone threat has passed. Two Fiji Airways’ B737 aircraft, along with the entire Fiji Link fleet, are securely stored at the airline’s Hangar facilities in Nadi.
5. Donations to Community Isolation Facilities
FHTA and Ministry of Health & Medical Services wishes to sincerely thank the following properties for donating items to assist in the setting up of community isolation facilities around the country: Nila Beach Resort; Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts; Laucala Private Island; Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa; and Holiday Inn Suva.
The FHTA Secretariat is now working remotely due to the Suva City lockdown, BUT we will be on email info@fhta.com.fj or the contact details below: