Via The Sydney Morning Herald: Tropical Cyclone Ian hits Tonga. Excerpt:
Strong winds, swells and rain are battering Tonga as a category four cyclone reaches the Pacific Island nation.
Tropical Cyclone Ian reached Tonga on Saturday morning and was expected to bring destructive 250 km/h winds, Tonga Meteorological and Coast Radio Services reports.
Heavy rain, thunderstorms, flash flooding, heavy swells and sea flooding are also expected.
Ian is a slow moving cyclone, which leads to greater destruction.
It is expected to take several hours to pass through.
There has been damage on Hunga and a state of emergency had been declared for the northern islands, according to reports.
The cyclone has been downgraded from a category five storm, the most severe rating for a cyclone, to a category four.
Residents in Tonga have been boarding up windows and cutting back trees to minimise potential damage.
At midnight, Vava'u residents said wind gusts were getting much stronger, Matangi Tonga news website reported.
"The wind's not yet strong enough to shake the breadfruit down, but it's building up," Tonga Tuita at Neiafu Tahi said.
Charities in New Zealand are preparing to offer support after the cyclone.
Oxfam expects to send staff to Tonga to assess the situation on the ground.
"Once the urgent needs are assessed we are expecting to help co-ordinate the supply of clean water and sanitation for those affected by the disaster," Oxfam New Zealand Pacific humanitarian manager Carlos Calderon said.
For local updates, check Matangi Tonga Online.