•The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is advising Kiwis not to travel to Fiji
•If you have concerns about a New Zealand citizen family member in Fiji, try to make direct contact with them first
•If you have ongoing concerns, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: (04) 439-8000 from within New Zealand or +64-4-439-8000 if calling from overseas.
•New Zealanders in Fiji are strongly encouraged to register with on MFAT's
•Those needing urgent consular assistance call the New Zealand High Commission in Suva, 00 679 331 1422.
2. Winston is the biggest storm in the world right now
As far as storms go, Cyclone Winston is undoubtedly a monster of potentially destructive power. WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan says it is the biggest and fiercest storm in the world right now. "I don't think there's anything else around that's as big as this one, or as aggressive as this one." Meteorologist Dr Jeff Masters said it was the strongest storm ever to threaten Fiji, according to Weather Underground.
3. It had already slammed Tonga, before striking Fiji
The cyclone wreaked havoc when it hit Tonga, destroying 10 homes and damaging a further 200. More than 2500 people were evacuated. It then made a u-turn back towards Fiji with more destructive forces. The Hawaii-based Typhoon Warning Centre predicted maximum sustained winds of 295km/h and gusts of up to 360km/h.
4. Fiji doesn't get direct hits from cyclones often
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it was rare for cyclones to hit the capital, with only 12 of at least category 1 intensity tracking within 160km of Suva since 1972. The most recent was four years ago. The eye of the cyclone made landfall over the north coast of Viti Levu at 9pm last night, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.
5. El Nino is giving it power
The strong El Nino weather pattern affecting the Pacific is making Cyclone Winston stronger. Weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said warmer-than-average waters in the South Pacific were helping to fuel Winston.
6. How to help
The Red Cross is asking for donations to its Pacific Disaster Fund. To donate, call 0800 RED CROSS (0800 733 27677) or go to https://www.redcross.org.nz/donate/pacific-disaster-fund/