Rolling coverage as Cyclone Evan hits Fiji
UPDATE: A CYCLONE that sent thousands of Fijians flocking to evacuation centres on Monday was expected to skirt the island of Nadi.
The Category Four cyclone, which killed four people in Samoa last week, led to all flights in and out of Fiji being cancelled.
The Fijian Bureau of Meteorology expected the cyclone would create swells between 10 and 12m overnight and could intensify as it reached the coast of Nadi.
Fiji braces for ferocious power of Cyclone Evan
FIJI residents are bracing themselves as Cyclone Evan makes its presence felt.
Thousands of people have taken shelter in the region as Tropical Cyclone Evan batters the area with winds of up to 185km/h.
Up to 400 New Zealanders also hunkered down in evacuation centres, with Cyclone Evan increasing from category 3 to 4 as it made its way towards Fiji.
Pacific Harbour resident Michael Thoms, who lives 40 minutes from Suva on the edge of where Evan is set to hit hardest, said today he'd just watched a tree in his backyard "take off''.
Mr Thoms said Cyclone Evan was set to be more severe than Cyclone Bebe, which hit the region in 1972 and killed 18 people.
"Quite definitely this will be much worse than that one, I feel very sorry for the people up North on the Vanua Levu side.''
Cyclone Kina in 1993 killed 23 people in the region and left thousands homeless.
Nearly 700 teenage schoolies are among 2100 Australians registered with the government as being in Fiji
Fiji said it had mobilised emergency response teams, 300 disaster relief centres and the police and military.
- nzherald.co.nz, Newstalk ZB, APNZ