Tropical Cyclone Winston slammed Fiji over the weekend leaving death and destruction in its path.
USA Today reports that the death toll has reached at least 20 following the powerful cyclone's assault on the islands of Fiji. Most of the deaths occurred from flying debris and collapsed buildings.
According to a blog by New Zealand MetService from Saturday afternoon, "Winston is now the strongest tropical cyclone and the first Category 5 [in the Southern Hemisphere] tropical cyclone on record to hit Fiji."
Winston caused "enormous devastation," according to the Fijian Government.
The Fijian government issued a 30-day State of Disaster for the country and also canceled schools this week as cleanup efforts continue.
The government opened more than 900 evacuation shelters in the country's Central and Northern divisions as part of its response as more than 6,000 people remain homeless.
As Winston continues to pull away from Fiji, conditions will improve and the nation can begin to clean up the destruction left by Winston.
Though a few showers and thunderstorms will remain across the country early this week, conditions will generally be favorable for recovery efforts.
Winston is the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane, and it will slowly weaken over the next several days as it turns southward tracking between Fiji and Vanuatu.
During the second half of the week, Winston will turn westward taking the cyclone between New Caledonia and New Zealand and into the Coral Sea to the east of Australia.
From Thursday into Friday, Winston will track very close to Norfolk Island and bring damaging winds and heavy rainfall to the island.
Winston will continue to approach Australia through Saturday before stalling several hundred miles east of the New South Wales coastline.
A cold front passing between Australia and New Zealand will then interact with Winston, pulling the storm southward toward New Zealand by early next week.
Moving over much cooler waters, Winston will transition into a post-tropical cyclone but will still bring strong winds and heavy rainfall to New Zealand's North Island.
Localized flooding along with power outages and tree damage will be possible as Winston moves across the North Island.
Content contributed by AccuWeather Senior Meteorologists Bob Smerbeck and Kristina Pydynowski along with Staff Writers Kevin Byrne and Mark Leberfinger.