28 Mar 2007

Tropical Cyclone Becky expected to strengthen

10:21 am on 28 March 2007

The latest warning on Tropical Cyclone Becky issued at 6 am Vanuatu time places the storm at latitude 17 degrees south, longitude 167.1 degrees east, about 120 kilometers west of the Shepherds Group or Northwest of Efate

Cyclone Becky is moving in a South-Southeasterly direction at the speed of 12 knots.

Winds close to its centre are estimated at 60 knots and are expected to increase to 70 knots in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Damaging gale force winds of 63 to 87 kilometres an hour are expected to affect parts of the Shepherds and Efate during today.

Strong to gale force winds are expected to continue affecting parts of Malekula, Ambrym and Epi during this morning.

Vanuatu forecasters say the sea will be very rough in the affected areas with heavy swells.

They recommend that people, including those on sea going vessels are strongly advisede not to go out to sea until the system moves out of the area.

Heavy rainfall and flooding, including coastal flooding is expected in the affected areas.

Communities and individual living near or along river banks, along coastal areas, on flat plains or in areas prone to land slides are advised to seek safe shelter.