13 Mar 2014

Cyclone Lusi upgraded to category three, strong warning in force

6:52 am on 13 March 2014

A tropical cyclone gale warning is in force for Fiji's Yasawas, the Mamanuca group and parts of the western division as Lusi moves away from Vanuatu and intensifies as it moves closer to Fiji.

The cyclone has affected thousands of homes in Vanuatu, and while local disaster officials are just beginning to asses the damage, unconfirmed reports already put the death toll at one.

Lusi has intensified to a category 3 cyclone overnight and was estimated to have sustained winds of 120 kilometres an hour with momentary gusts to 170 kilometres an hour.

A damaging heavy swell warning is in place for the same areas while there is a strong wind warning for the rest of Fiji.

The Fiji Meteorological Office is warning of thunderstorms and flooding in coastal areas today.