Cyclone Winston, Strongest Southern Hemisphere Storm in History, Hits Fiji
One of the strongest storms ever measured on Earth just made a direct landfall in the South Pacific.
Cyclone Winston made landfall on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, late Saturday local time. The Fiji Meteorological Service estimated wind gusts near Winston’s center at around 200 mph—strong enough for Winston to be considered the strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the Southern Hemisphere. Just prior to landfall, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii estimated Winston’s sustained winds at around 185 mph, based on satellite.
Fiji’s government has declared a “state of natural disaster” for the next 30 days to help deal with the storm and its expected aftermath. Video from Fiji taken hours before the worst conditions arrived showed trees and power lines bending under heavy winds, and there are initial reports from some Fijian villages of all houses destroyed: