Tropical cyclone heads toward Tonga

Last updated 12:13 06/01/2014

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The summer season's first South Pacific cyclone, a tropical cyclone named "Ian", is heading toward Tonga.

The Nadi Tropical Cyclone Centre in Fiji says Ian has formed north of Tonga but is heading south towards the island groups of Ha'apai and Vavau.

They warn of gales across Tonga, which has a population of about 106,000.

The 2013-14 South Pacific cyclone season has been slow to get started and it is the first time there have been no cyclones between July and December.

In the 2012-13 season there were 24 cyclones, including Evan which killed 14 people in Samoa.

Evan was unusual for the length of time it remained strong enough to be damaging, also hitting Wallis and Futuna Islands, Fiji and Tonga, with its remnants reaching northern New Zealand.

There have been an average of 27 cyclones a year between 1981 and 2012.

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