An Auckland family are among those hunkering down as Cyclone Sarai lashes Fiji with momentary gusts to 150km/h.
One person is still missing in Vunidawa, Naitasiri, while another is recovering in a hospital ICU in Suva, according to the Fiji National Disaster Management Office which reported one casualty yesterday.
Seventy evacuation centres have been activated with 2538 evacuees.
An Auckland family, who did not wish to be named, were holidaying at a Fiji beach resort when the cyclone began to ravage the area.
They have stayed hunkered down at the resort.
"The staff have been absolutely amazing here!! They are clearly working with limited staff numbers and resources but things have been fine," the woman said.
At one point on Friday the water rose significantly and probably came within a few metres of the family's room, she said.
"There are trees down and some debris but we have been advised not to leave the resort so I'm unsure what it's like elsewhere."
They contacted the flight centre they booked through to organise an earlier flight to leave Fiji but the rearrangements were cancelled twice before the family were finally placed on a flight that is expected to leave tonight.
In the 24 hours leading up to midday yesterday, there had been 126mm of rain at Nadi Airport.
MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said the category 2 storm, with winds near the centre about 90-110km/h, was slowly moving east towards Tonga.
"It's fairly steady, it has been category 2 for a while and it is expected to stay category 2 for the next couple of days with the force gradually starting to weaken."
According to the Fiji MetService the storm warning remains in force for Kadavu, Matuku, Moala and Totoya.
A gale warning also remains in force for Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands, the Mananuca group, Beqa and Vatulele, Viti Levu and nearby smaller islands, Lomaiviti and the rest of the Lau group.
The forecaster says the centre of the tropical cyclone should be located about 80km south-southwest of Matuku or 190km west-southwest of Kabara at 6pm today, and about 80km south-southeast of Matuku or 130km southwest of Kabara at 6am tomorrow.