Publication Date February 21, 2016

Tropical Cyclone Winston - strongest ever seen in southern hemisphere - hits Fiji

Radar image of Tropical Cyclone Winston at time of landfall. Image: Fiji Weather Service

Tropical Cyclone Winston made history when it tore across Fiji's main island of Viti Levu early on Sunday morning. It hit with staggering intensity, with estimated maximum sustained winds of up to 185 miles per hour, with gusts to 225 miles per hour. 

This made it the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the entire southern hemisphere, based on wind speed estimates from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. 

According to Weather Underground, Tropical Cyclone Winston was also the second-strongest storm at landfall anywhere in the world, with only Super Typhoon Haiyan rated as more intense when it caused catastrophic damage to the Philippines in 2013. (Other storms in the northern hemisphere have been stronger prior to making landfall.)