Topical Cyclone Tomas hit Fiji’s northern islands with a speed of 275 km/h (170 mph) along with heavy rains. The destructive storm is in Category 4 and the second most destructive in a five point scale. It is heading northeast and is expected to hit the main island Viti Levu. “The closest it will come is 200 km (124 miles) to the east of Suva,” said Alipate Waqaicelua, forecaster for the Nadi Tropical Cyclone Center. There has been night curfews implemented and schools were ordered to close till Thursday.
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones feed on heat released when moist air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air. They are fueled by a different heat mechanism than other cyclonic windstorms such as nor’easters, European windstorms, and polar lows, leading to their classification as “warm core” storm systems. Tropical cyclones originate in the doldrums near the equator, about 10° away from it.