[Source: Fiji Meteorological Service]
Tropical Cyclone Mal has intensified into a severe tropical cyclone, reaching category three status as of midnight.
Bipen Prakash, the Acting Director of Fiji Meteorological Services, says Mal has now entered Fiji Waters.
Prakash reports that it boasts maximum sustained winds of 65 knots and gusts of 90 knots near its center.
At this stage, Prakash notes that hurricane-force winds are not expected over the land areas based on current analysis.
TC Mal was situated 140km west-southwest of Viwa and 185km west of Nadi at midnight, moving in a south-southeast direction at 19 knots, drawing closer to the Fiji Group.
At midnight it is moving in a south southeast direction at 19 knots closer to the Fiji group. Worst of the impact of severe Tropical Cyclone Mal is expected to be felt from midnight tonight to early tomorrow morning.
According to the current projected path, the Yasawa and Mamanuca Groups, western and southern Viti Levu (including areas from the Coral Coast to Navua), Vatulele, Kadavu, and nearby smaller islands are at the greatest risk of experiencing gale to storm-force winds.