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    Deadly Cyclone Evan Rakes Fiji

    December 17, 2012, 4:15:10 AM EST

    Tropical Cyclone Evan has ripped Fiji, leaving a trail of destruction.

    Evan, which smashed homes, flattened trees and triggered flooding, was called the worst cyclone to strike Fiji in 20 years, the Australian ABC News website said.

    Thousands of people had fled ahead of the storm, which last week left a trail of destruction in Samoa.

    The powerful storm's eye clipped the western shore of Viti Levu, the "big island" of Fiji and home to Nadi. The nation's biggest airport, located at Nadi, registered hurricane gusts for at least six hours; one gust reached 104 mph.


    The eye of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Even looms off the Nadi and the northwest shore of Viti Levu, Fiji, as of 4:20 p.m., local time, Dec. 17, 2012. (Fiji Meteorological Service)

    Monday afternoon, local time (early Monday morning, Eastern Time), the eye of Evan was pinpointed less than 20 miles from Nadi, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said. Highest sustained winds were estimated to be 115 knots, or above 130 mph, high enough to be ranked a Category 4 hurricane.

    By Monday night, the storm had tracked southward, taking the worst of its destructive winds away from Fiji.

    Video credit: John Hembrow/YouTube.com

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