'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.

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.

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



Curfew in place for Tonga's capital tonight as Pacific nation braces for 'destructive' Cyclone Gita

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued an official advisory warning people not to travel to Tonga as Cyclone Gita barrels towards the island nation today.

The advisory warns the cyclone is expected to hit as a Category 4 storm, bringing destructive winds, heavy rainfall, dangerous storm surge and flooding to Tonga.

New Zealand's High Commission in the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa will be closed for the next two days as the cyclone rolls in, with staff and other Kiwis on the island urged to evacuate or seek suitable shelter.

Kiwis in Tonga are also being urged to sign up to the Safe Travel register to let family and friends back home know they're safe during the potentially devastating storm.

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.

1 NEWS Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver is in Nuku'alofa reporting on the preparations being made ahead of the cyclone.

"In downtown Nuku'alofa people are starting to nail down their roofs and many have already started to board up.

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

"People have sent their staff home now, getting their emergency supplies and making sure their families are safe with Cyclone Gita possibly hitting as a Category-5 later tonight," she says.

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

"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.

Cyclone Gita is currently a Category 4 but could become a Category 5 when it hits Tonga about 7pm tonight.

Ofa Fa'anunu from the Tonga Meteorological service says Gita will be the strongest cyclone on record to hit the Kingdom.

He is warning the public to go to evacuation centres as soon as possible.

TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett with the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS

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What Tonga's like right now? 1 NEWS' Barbara Dreaver in the path of the storm as Cyclone Gita nears

People in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa are beginning to prepare for the worst as Cyclone Gita barrels towards them today, with the possibility of slamming into the island nation as a devastating Category-5 storm late tonight.

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver is in Nuku'alofa reporting on the preparations being made ahead of the cyclone.

"In downtown Nuku'alofa people are starting to nail down their roofs and many have already started to board up.

"People have sent their staff home now, getting their emergency supplies and making sure their families are safe with Cyclone Gita possibly hitting as a Category-5 later tonight," she says.

Cyclone Gita is currently a Category 4 but is expected to be a Category 5 when it hits Tonga about 7pm today. 

Ofa Fa'anunu from the Tonga Meteorological service says Gita will be the strongest cyclone on record to hit the Kingdom.

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

He is warning the public to go to evacuation centres as soon as possible.

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

"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.

The Tongan Community in New Zealand is watching on with anxiety.

"I think the worry is there, and everybody is braced to find out what the cyclone will do," Tongan Advisory Council chair Melino Maka told 1 NEWS.

"If it hits Tongatapu as a Category 5 there will be a lot of damage.

"The last time there was a cyclone, it wasn’t a Category 5 and it did a lot of damage to the shoreline," Mr Maka said.
 

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