Cyclone Gita hurtles towards Fiji with 295km/h winds

Cyclone Gita has torn its way through Tonga and is now lining up to hammer Fiji.

It's expected to increase its strength to a category five on Tuesday, which could lead to gusts of 295 km/h.

Fijians living in southern Lau Group of Vatoa, Ono-i-Lau and nearby islands have been urged to prepare for cyclone Gita's arrival there on Tuesday evening.

The Fiji Meteorological Service is warning of destructive hurricane force winds, damaging heavy swells and flooding of low lying coastal areas.

"Close to its centre the cyclone is expected to have average winds up to 195 km/hr with momentary gusts to 275 km/hr.

"The average winds close to its centre are expected to increase to 215 km/hr with momentary gusts to 295 km/hr."

Fiji's National Disaster Management Office is urging the population to be prepared.

"Village disaster committees, led by Turaga-ni-Koros and Mata-ni-Tikinas, in Southern Lau are encouraged to hold immediate meetings and implement their disaster readiness plans," it says.

"Like Tropical Cyclone Winston, storm surges are expected to accompany damaging gale force winds brought by Tropical Cyclone Gita.

"Village and community leaders must make known existing safe evacuation centers on high ground as storm surges may be destructive and are expected to flood low lying coastal areas."

Newshub.