Samoa swept by Cyclone Gita

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Local officials in Tonga have urged residents to move away from low-lying locations and to make preparations on their properties, Radio New Zealand reported.

Gita will bring damaging winds, flooding rain and storm surge inundation to Tonga. These incredibly unsafe seas could last 24 hours aroud the southern islands of Tonga.

Powerful cyclones do tend to wobble at times from the forecast tracking.

Gita was a lesser category 1 cyclone when it passed over Samoa on Saturday, causing widespread flooding and loss of electricity.

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By Tuesday afternoon conditions should be calmer in Tonga weatherwise, although risky seas and more normal rain could linger through Wednesday.

A storm barreling toward the Pacific island nation of Tonga could be the most powerful to ever hit the country.

With the island being so small, there is a chance Gita won't technically make landfall (when the centre crosses land), but even a close brush will be equally as damaging.

Gita was starting to form an eye.

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On Thursday Weather Watch predicted the cyclone could come to New Zealand and may become a much bigger storm than the recent ex-cyclone Fehi. Many models are predicting it would hit New Zealand, but not until the middle of next week.

The information ministry advised anyone considering moving to the shelters to leave early, saying travel would not be possible when the eye of the storm passes over. So this large uncertainty means we should definitely keep the focus on Tonga for the next 24 hours. It made landfall as a category 3 storm.

Tracking today and tomorrow shows a direct hit. Power supplies were cut and phone lines were taken down. The cyclone is the strongest in recorded history to approach Tonga this evening.

Samoa declared a state of disaster on Saturday after a tropical cyclone hit the South Pacific island state, causing extensive damages but no casualties.

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