Fiji braces as Cyclone Daman intensifies, heads toward populated islands

A powerful tropical cyclone packing wind gusts up to 250 kilometers an hour (155 miles an hour) headed Friday toward northern Fiji, where islanders braced for heavy rain and coastal sea surges overnight, officials said. Cyclone Daman, rated a category 4 cyclone by the South Pacific nation's Nadi Meteorological Center, was expected to cause "major flooding" and "pretty serious damage" to islanders' houses and to low-lying coastal areas after smashing ashore later Friday, senior forecaster Matt Boterhoven said. Fiji Disaster Management Office director Joeli Rokovabe said people in the Lau and Lomaiviti island groups, and on Fiji's second main island of Vanua Levu, were being advised to move from coastal areas to cyclone shelters and other secure buildings.