Cyclone Ella nears Futuna on way to Fiji

TROPICAL Cyclone Ella, currently nearing French island Futuna, is heading west.

But while Fiji’s Met Service says it could strengthen to Category 3, French meteorologists expect it to weaken.

A cyclone tracking map from Meteo France shows the cyclone is expected to hit Fiji.
A cyclone tracking map from Meteo France shows the cyclone is expected to hit Fiji.

The system is forecast to pass south of the French island of Futuna on its way to Fiji.

A Level 1 alert is in force in Futuna.

Meteo France said the system would weaken by midnight.

The Fiji Met Service, however, said it would likely strengthen to a Category 3 storm by tomorrow, but on its current track would pass about 180km north northeast of Udu Point in the northeast of Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island.

A gale warning is in force for Vanua Levu, Taveuni and nearby smaller islands.

The Fiji Meteo tracking map of Ella.
The Fiji Meteo tracking map of Ella.

On Saturday and Sunday, the cyclone was forecast to remain at Category 3 strength but move west on a path several hundred kilometres north of Fiji’s main islands.

Meanwhile Cyclone Donna has caused substantial damage on New Caledonia’s Lifou island, destroying many homes and cutting power lines, but it has now weakened.