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Tropical Cyclone Keni destroys homes, inundates towns following direct hit on Fiji

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 11, 2018, 7:26:35 AM EDT

Residents of Viti Levu and Kadavu continue to clean up from Tropical Cyclone Keni which brought damaging winds and flooding.

While Viti Levu escaped a direct hit, the cyclone passed over Kadavu and caused widespread damage.

Heavy rain from Tropical Cyclone Josie, only a week prior, only further increased the risk for flooding and damaging winds by saturating the soil.

Keni 4/10

Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Keni near Fiji on Tuesday, courtesy of NOAA.

The cyclone unleashed winds over 120 km/h (75 mph) on the island, resulting in damaged homes, downed trees and capsized boats, according to Radio New Zealand.

Despite escaping the most powerful winds of Cyclone Keni, Viti Levu still endured damaging winds and flooding.

Widespread rainfall of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) was reported from Monday night into Tuesday across the island, including Nadi and Suva.

Cyclone Keni 4/10

Total rainfall since Sunday was more than 275 mm (11 inches) in Nadi and resulted in widespread flooding.

The powerful tropical cyclone has forced more than 18,000 people to seek shelter in evacuation centers across the country, according to Fiji's National Disaster Management Office.

Fiji Weather Center
Interactive Fiji weather satellite
South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Center

Other areas that have reported damaging winds and flooding include Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki.

One man was killed in Ba after falling off his roof while trying to secure it during the storm, according to Xinhua.

Flood waters washed out a bridge near Tavua, cutting off around 150 people from any supplies or aid.

As of Wednesday, more than 80 roads were closed across the country due to flooding.

The weather improved on Wednesday with just some passing showers. Mostly dry and tranquil weather will prevail from Thursday into next week, which will aid recovery efforts.

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