27 Mar 2007

Cyclone Becky to gather intensity as it nears Vanuatu's northern islands

6:47 pm on 27 March 2007

A tropical cyclone that is moving towards the northern islands of Vanuatu is increasing in intensity.

The Vanuatu MetService says at mid afternoon Cyclone Becky was located 160 kilometres northwest of Santo Island or 250 kilometers west of the Banks group.

Winds at the centre of the cyclone are expected to increase to 55 knots or nearly 100 kilometres an hour over the next 12 hours.

Forecasters say that gale force winds of up to 75 kilometres an hour are expected to affect Torba, Sanma and later tonight, Penama provinces.

They say seas will be rough to very rough and strongly advise people not to go to sea until the system moves out of the area.

People living along rivers or coastal areas, or places prone to landslides are advised to seek safe shelter.