By RNZ Pacific
The intensity of Cyclone Ana surprised many in Fiji which was hammered with 140km/hr gusts and heavy rain over the weekend.
The storm developed into a Category 2 storm after initially sweeping past the Yasawas as a Category 1 system.
It proceeded to cut a swathe through the northern and eastern parts of Viti Levu, including Suva.
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As of Sunday the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) said a 49-year-old man had drowned and was the first casualty from the storm.
Five others were missing, including a three-year-old boy.
Correspondent Lice Movono, who lives in the capital of Suva, said there may have been a degree of complacency leading up to the storm.
“It was a lot stronger than we anticipated,” she said.
“I think that given we had been used to Cat Fives and Cat Threes and really everything above a Cat Three, I think that maybe I personally, and a lot of people, might have underestimated what a Category One storm was like.”
Movono said the fact some people were seen swimming or wandering around during the storm underlined this.
Earlier the NDMO had issued warnings for people to stay away from the water.
“We are in the midst of a cyclone with widespread flooding throughout the country, yet we continue to receive reports of members of the public, adults and children alike wandering around,” said NDMO Director Vasiti Soko.
The biggest concern for Fijian authorities seemed to be the floodwaters and burst rivers.
Lice Movono said many areas of the island had been inundated.
“This storm had been a Tropical Depression for a long time before it finally developed into a cyclone so it brought quite a lot of rainbands with it and so that had been concentrated in the interior parts of the island.
‘A lot of flood damage’
“We got a lot of flooding and a lot of damage from the flooding well before the cyclone even came into Fijian waters.”
A second cyclone is expected to hit Fiji’s main islands in the next 24 hours.
Tropical Cyclone Bina formed to the northwest of the country and its centre is forecast to go between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.
It is expected to remain a category 1 system.
In the Coral Sea, Tropical Cyclone Lucas is moving as a category 2 system eastwards south of Solomon Islands.
Forecasters expected the Cyclone to reach New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands by Wednesday.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.