I checked on cyclone Yasa this morning. The eye seems to have passed between Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, the two largest Fijian Islands, and is now just beyond them. Sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour/149 miles per hour/130 knots with gusts up to 345 kilometers per hour/214 miles per hour/186 knots have been reported. If accurate Yasa may be the strongest cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Whatever the true numbers, rapid intensification is not limited to one side of the Equator. Yasa went from a Category 1 to a Category 5 in little more than 24 hours.
Vanua Levu and Viti Levu are high islands. The waters between them are named Bligh Waters. The much and perhaps unjustly maligned Captain Bligh sailed through there in the BOUNTY’s launch after the mutiny. But many of Fiji’s hundreds of islands are small atolls and may be inundated by storm surge.
This is the second Category 5 storm to hit Fiji in the past four years.
I thank Hugh for pointing out that 300,000 is not 0.01% of the US population, but 0.1%, a very substantial difference.