NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Evan on December 16, 2012 at 0135 UTC (2:35 p.m. local time) and captured this true-color image of the intense storm over the island nation of Fiji. In this image, the storm contains a large, cloud-filled eye, which was estimated at about 17 km (11 mi) across. Heavy rain bands wrap in an apostrophe shape around the center, and reach over the two main islands of Fiji, Viti Levu (south) and Vanua Levu (north).
At 0600 UTC (7 p.m. local time) RSMC Nadi reported that Tropical Cyclone Evan had become a Category 3 severe tropical cyclone. By 1800 UTC on that same day, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h (115 mph). By early the next day (December 17), Evan reached its peak intensity with 1-minute maximum sustained winds of 230 km/h (145 mph), making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Evan crossed Viti Levu at this strength, then weakened as it pulled away from the main island.
By December 20, Evan had been blown apart by strong wind shear, and was merely a remnant low pressure area in the South Pacific Ocean. The last official bulletin by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center was issued on Dec. 19 at 2100 UTC (12:56 a.m. December 20 Fiji local time). At that time, Evan's maximum sustained winds were still near 40 mph (64.8 km/h) and it had transitioned into an extra-tropical storm.
Tropical Cyclone Evan was one of the strongest cyclones to hit Fiji and Samoa in recent memory. In the ten days between first formation on December 9 and dissipation on December 19, the storm battered Fiji, Western Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna. The cost of the storm has been estimated at $161 million US dollars, and 14 lives were reported lost.