18 Feb 2005

Cook Islands prepares for Cyclone Olaf

11:41 am on 18 February 2005

Cook Islands meteorologist, Maara Vaiimene, says the country is well prepared for the third cyclone in less than a fortnight.

He says the people know what to expect.

Mr Vaiimene says the storm, at this stage, is not expected to come closer than two hundred kilometres to the main island of Rarotonga, but they are still preparing for the worse.

"That is what we are preparing for. To expect that type of wind strength when the cyclone gets closer here in the Southern Cooks and especially here in Rarotonga. We are preparing for two hundred kilometres per hour winds."

Latest reports from the Fiji Met office say Cyclone Olaf average wind speed near the centre is over 200 kilometres an hour with gusts over 285 kilometres an hour.

The forecasters say the winds will decrease to about 185 kilometres per hour over the next 12 to 14 hours.