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Cyclone Susan Blows Toward Fiji

January 7, 1998

SUVA, Fiji (AP) _ After killing a woman in Vanuatu, Cyclone Susan veered today toward Fiji and its many resorts, bringing much-needed rain along with destructive winds of up to 125 mph.

Residents along Tonga’s northern shore and islands, meanwhile, dug out today from an overnight battering by Cyclone Ron. There were no reports of casualties or damage.

Cyclone Ron battered Wallis Island on Tuesday with 140 mph winds _ ripping roofs off houses, knocking down trees, and cutting off electricity and water _ before it moved toward neighboring Futuna Island and onto Tonga, Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio reported.

No injuries were reported among Wallis’ 9,000 residents, authorities said. The islands, located between Fiji and Samoa, are French territory.

Cyclone Susan was expected to pass 185 miles southwest of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu on Thursday morning. The weather bureau at Nadi has warned the half-million residents of the southern and western islands to be on alert. The southwest coast and islands also are home to the Sheraton and Shangri-La hotels and many smaller resorts.

The Nadi airport remained open today, and the rain was helping to break a drought afflicting Fiji.

Susan already is blamed for one death. A woman died Tuesday in Vanuatu after being struck by an uprooted coconut tree while collecting fronds and branches to help secure her home against the storm, Radio Vanuatu said. The National Disaster Management Office lifted all warnings for Vanuatu today.

Cyclone Katrina, meanwhile, continued to move away from Australia, toward the Solomon Islands.

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