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Tropical Cyclone Sarai maintains strength and speed off Fiji

Tropical Cyclone Sarai has brought heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 140 km/hr overnight to the Fiji group.

The Category two storm is moving Southeast at 17km/h and was located 170km West of Kadavu which is 230 km West-Southwest of Suva at 6am this morning.

The Fiji National Disaster Management Office said 15 evacuation centres are open and 361 people sought shelter last night.

Visible infra-red satellite imagery of Cyclone Sarai as it churns down the west coast of Fiji. Source: Supplied

It also assisted people living in low lying areas as strong surge started to enter some villages along the coastal areas in the western division.

Tonga

Fiji Metservice forecaster Sakeasi Rabitu said on its current track Sarai will pass adjacent to the main island Viti Levu and then across Fiji's southern islands, before heading towards Tonga's Ha'apai Group.

Category 2 Cyclone Sarai is forecast to cross Fiji into Tonga this weekend. Source: Supplied

"It is still continuing south-east with it, it is still expected to bring lots of gale force winds and heavy rain. It is going to continue throughout the day continuing moving south of Kadavau, moving east. No landfall has been made yet but we have been fully experiencing the full brunt of the winds as well," Sakeasi Rabitu said.

Tonga's Fua'amotu Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre has been activated as Tropical Cyclone Sarai is expected to cross into Tonga waters this weekend.

The Cyclone Warning Centre will continue to provide Tropical Cyclone Advisories, Alerts and Warnings for Tonga on the developments of Tropical Cyclone Sarai every six hours, advisories will be updated more often prior to its track closing into Tonga waters.

rnz.co.nz