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Tropical Storm Born on April Fool's Day

Tropical Storm Daphne as seen by NASA Terra satellite
The MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible image of Tropical Cyclone Daphne over the North Fiji Basin, South Pacific Ocean, on April 1, 2012 at 2300 UTC (7 p.m. EDT). (Image credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team )

It may have formed on April Fool's Day, but this storm is no joke.

Low pressure System 95P became Tropical Storm Daphne in the southwestern Pacific Ocean on April 1, after it had already caused severe flooding in areas of Fiji, according to a NASA statement.

NASA's Terra satellite passed over Daphne after it had been named, and its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument captured a visible image of the storm at 2300 UTC (7 p.m. EDT).

The Fiji Meteorological Service noted today, April 2, that a gale warning remains in force for Viti Levu, Yasawa And Mamanuca Group, Southern Lau Group, Kadavu and Nearby Smaller Islands. Strong wind warnings are up for the other Fiji islands. In addition, a severe flood warning is in effect for all major rivers, streams and low-lying areas of Viti Levu.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that there were about 8,000 people in evacuation shelters and that air travel has resumed today after being grounded yesterday, the NASA statement said.

On April 2 at 0300 UTC (April 1, 11 p.m. EDT), Tropical Storm Daphne had maximum sustained winds near 35 knots (40 mph/64 kph). Those tropical-storm-force winds extend as far as 200 nautical miles (230 miles/370 km) from the center, making Daphne a good-sized storm, more than 400 nautical miles (460 miles/741 km) in diameter.

Daphne is 340 nautical miles (391 miles/630 km) west-southwest of Suva, Fiji, and moving to the east-southeast.

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