Cyclone Keni has been upgraded to a Severe, Category 3 strength, as it moves closer and closer to Fiji this morning. Above image via NOAA
Severe Tropical Cyclone Keni has undergone rapid intensification over the past 24hrs to reach ‘Severe’, Category 3 strength with winds to 185km/h near the centre. The system is currently situated just West to South West of Viti Levu and its expected to start taking a more South Easterly track immediately, with a bypass of Viti Levu to the South. This should mean that Viti Levu (the main Fiji Island) is spared, but the small Islands to the South could come under threat of the more severe impacts such as destructive to very destructive winds, heavy rain and even a small storm surge depending on how close the system wants to get to them.
Conditions are fairly tame across Viti Levu, but for those who are there either living or on holiday, don’t be fooled. Due to the fast movements of the system, conditions are likely to rapidly deteriorate this afternoon with winds rapidly increasing to around 100km/h to possibly 130km/h at Nadi and surrounds, possibly higher, with waves of heavy rain coming in that will quickly accumulate. There have already been falls of 141mm at Penang and 166mm at Matuku (a small Island South East of Viti Levu), so this remains the biggest threat as falls of 100-200mm are expected over the next 24hrs that could cause flash flooding and some river / creek flooding. Its advised that people listen to the instructions given to them by authorities over on Fiji to ensure their safety, but if you get through the hazardous conditions today and tonight, then you should be able to return things to normal on Wednesday.