Storm surge brings flooding as Kofi moves south-southeast

Lifuka Island experienced flooding from storm surge while some areas in Nuku'alofa are on evacuation alert and swimmers are being warned to stay out of the sea.

Low areas of Lifuka’s waterfronts and Kolomotu'a in Nuku'alofa were flooded as tropical cyclone Kofi is expected to lie about 290km south-southeast of Nukualofa at 7pm this evening.

Police have last night ordered swimmers at the Uafu 'Amelika known as Yellow Pier to leave and warned against the potentially fatal consequences of going into the sea while a cyclone warning remains in force.

Tonga Met Service at its advisory number 12 at 9.30am Sunday 2 says a gale warning remains in force for Haapai, Tongatapu, ‘Eua and nearby islands.

It says:                                               

A strong wind warning remains in force for the Niuas and Vava'u.

A heavy rain advisory remains in force for all of Tonga land areas.

An extreme high tide advisory remains in force for all Tonga waters.

A heavy damaging swells advisory remains in force for all Tonga waters.

The cyclone is moving south-southeast at 12kts and away from the group, according to Met.

Damaging gale force winds may affect Ha'apai, Tongatapu, ‘Eua and nearby smaller islands from this morning until later today.

Police arrived at the Yellow Pier last night to find a number of people swimming in the sea. They were told to leave while residents at Tongata'eapa, 'Isileli and Sopu in Kolomotu’a were informed to evacuate to Tongata'eapa , Longolongo and Halaano community halls if their homes were flooded.

Flood sea water surged into homes at the coastline and roads in Lifuka, Ha'apai but no evacuation reported.  

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