'Most homes won't survive this' - Tonga bracing for direct hit from monster Cyclone Gita

As the monstrous Cyclone Gita barrels towards Tonga tonight, 1 NEWS' Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver fears that "most homes" won't stand up to the over 200km/h winds forecast to slam into the island nation.

The weather system is packing winds of more than 200km/h. Source: 1 NEWS

Reporting live from the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa, Dreaver says the first effects of the storm are now being felt.

The TVNZ weatherman has the latest on the storm set to hit the Pacific nation. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's really starting to close in here now and we are just hours away from the full fury of Cyclone Gita, which is set to be the worst storm in Tonga's recorded history," she said.

By midnight the centre of Cyclone Gita is expected to hit the capital Nuku'alofa as a Category 5 storm.

1 NEWS reporter shows you how Tongans are readying for category 5 storm. Source: 1 NEWS

Dreaver worries that "most homes won't survive this" with a lot of structures only built to withstand Category 3 storms.

She says a lot of people are taking shelter in Mormon churches and schools around the island due to there structural soundness.

Tonga Police have ordered a curfew be put in place from 9pm until 7am in the Nuku'alofa CBD to ensure the safety of residents.

Acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika today signed a state of emergency declaration due to "the destructive force winds and sea rises caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita".

A state of emergency has been declared. Source: 1 NEWS

"It is necessary for emergency powers to be exercised in order to prevent or minimise the loss of human life, illness or injury, property loss or damage, and damage to the environment," the declaration read.