Tropical cyclone 'Oscar' | The Meteorological Society of New Zealand

Tropical cyclone 'Oscar'

M. Browne
R. Krishna

Hurricane Oscar approached Fiji from the west-northwest on Tuesday 1 March 1983 and was located just south of Singatoka at about midnight. It passed between Vatulele and the south coast of Viti Levu and, as it approached Mbengga about 6 am. next morning, it turned towards the south-southeast, crossing Kandavu at 10 a.m. on 2 March. By that evening it was well to the south-southeast of Kandavu and continued to move away. The lowest pressure recorded during Oscar was 952.7 millibars at Vunisea, Kandavu at 10 a.m. on 2 March when the eye of the cyclone lay over the station. This is certainly one of the lowest pressures ever recorded in Fiji. The cyclone had estimated maximum sustained winds of 100 knots (gusts of 140 knots) close to its centre and winds of hurricane force (sustained winds over 63 knots) extended to 30-35 nautical miles (55-65 km) from the centre. Oscar has been classed as the worst natural disaster in Fiji since the cyclone of 1931. It caused the loss of 9 lives and preliminary estimates of damage are about $F80 million. High winds, flooding due to heavy rainfall and storm surge caused widespread devastation in the west and south of Viti Levu and nearby islands of Mamanuthas, Vatulele, Mbengga and Kandavu.

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