Tropical cyclone Winston hits Suva last evening. Video: Breaking Disaster
By Mere Naleba, Nasik Swami and Sikeli Qounadovu in Suva
Tropical cyclone Winston has left the Fiji Islands today, with the most powerful Pacific storm to ever hit the country leaving a trail of destruction and at least one death in its wake overnight.
As daylight broke, the destruction left behind by Hurricane Winston became visible.Along the Princes Road between Suva and Nausori, drivers were warned to proceed with caution as fallen trees had blocked off roads. The curfew imposed at 6pm last night is still in effect and police warned that they would take tough action against people breaking the curfew. According to the Nadi Weather Office, the category 5 hurricane force winds had died out in some areas and would be downgraded to storm force winds this morning. The Fiji government yesterday declared a state of emergency and schools have been declared on leave for one week. Reports described Winston as not only the strongest hurricane in the South Pacific, but in the Southern Hemisphere, with winds reaching more than 300 km/h at its peak. Senior forecaster Amit Singh said the eye of the hurricane was located closer to Viwa Island. A hurricane warning was in force for the Mamanucas. The Fiji Times received confirmation of severe damage to houses in Nausori, Korovou, Rakiraki, Ba, Savusavu, Taveuni and the Lau Group. Houses blown away Houses have blown away, roof tops been ripped off, and severe damage has been caused to the infrastructure. Power lines have been broken and debris is scattered around the country’s towns and cities. Asia Pacific Report earlier reported the death of one elderly man when his house collapsed on him on Koro Island. [caption id="attachment_10268" align="alignnone" width="680"] Suva City Council staff work around the clock trying to clear off fallen trees along the roadside in the capital. Image: Solomone Rabulu/Fiji Times[/caption] Director Operations Rusiate Tudravu said police were disappointed that despite numerous warnings and with the State of Natural Disaster in place, members of the public were out enjoying the rain last night or just merely taking a walk.