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Powerful Cyclone Headed to Tonga

(VOA): The Pacific island of Tonga has declared a state of emergency as it prepares for Cyclone Gita.

Some people on the island are boarding their windows while others are evacuating as they brace for the cyclone that is due to hit Monday night.

Weather experts are warning residents of soaking rains and winds that can exceed 200 kilometers per hour. The storm is expected to become a Category Five storm, the strongest ranking, before reaching Tonga.

Authorities are already warning people to seek strong shelter and pick up anything they find on the ground that could become a deadly missile when the winds blow.

The storm has strengthened since hitting Samoa and American Samoa last week, where it damaged buildings and caused widespread power outages and flooding, leaving the residents without clean water in some areas.

U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency on the territory of American Samoa. The declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide equipment and resources. 

Tonga is home to about 105,000 people.

Schools and workplaces in Tonga were closed ahead of the storm.

(This story has not been edited by N24 staff and is Voice Of America auto-generated from a RSS feed)

Published Date: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 | 08:45 AM

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