15 Feb 2005

Major cyclones in Cook Islands and Samoa

9:13 am on 15 February 2005

A major tropical cyclone is moving through the Cook Islands; the second in as many weeks.

Forecasters at the Fiji Met Service say Cyclone Nancy is between Palmerston and Suwarrow in the northern Cooks group, moving east south east.

Maximum winds close to the centre are reckoned to be 185 kilometres an hour, with gusts to 260 kilometres an hour.

The cyclone is continuing to intensify, and destructive hurricane force winds are forecast for the southern Cooks island of Aitutaki early tomorrow morning.

And Cyclone Olaf is expected to bring damaging gale force winds to Samoa.

Forecasters say the storm's winds may increase to very destructive hurricane force within the next 24 to 36 hours.