25 Jan 2007

Southern Cooks being battered as Cyclone Arthur is expected to strengthen

4:31 pm on 25 January 2007

Tropical Cyclone Arthur is battering the southern Cook Islands and is expected to intensify over the next 24 hours.

Arthur is around 300 kilometres north of Aitutaki with winds of around 110 kilometres an hour at its centre with momentary gusts to 140 kilometres an hour.

This is expected to increase to winds of 125 kilometres an hour and occasional gusts reaching 170 kilometres an hour.

Aitutaki, Mauke, and other smaller islands can expect damaging gale force winds over the next 12 t 24 hours.

The cyclone is moving at a rate of 40 kilometres an hour in an east south east direction but is expected to turn south east, bringing it nearer to Aitutaki and Rarotonga.