29 Jan 2010

Schools closed in Cooks as Nisha nears

4:25 pm on 29 January 2010

Schools are closed in the Cook Islands as people prepare for the arrival of tropical cyclone Nisha.

The storm is expected to hit the Southern Cook Islands tomorrow morning, bringing with it strong and damaging winds, heavy rain and rough seas.

Charles Carlson, the director of emergency management, says a meeting will be held this later afternoon of the response agencies to decide the next move.

"At this stage we've closed the schools, and everyone is just preparing for the cyclone. The information has gone out through the radio warning people, especially those who especially those who live along the coastline to be aware and to make preparations. Basically to secure their rooves, and make sure they are ready to evacuate if it's required."

Charles Carlson says the cyclone has already passed the north-western island of Palmerston, which saw heavy rain and rough seas, but everyone on the island is safe.

Meanwhile in French Polynesia, a crisis unit is to be set up to prepare for the bad weather expected to hit the archipelago.

The cyclone is expected to bring wind and rain to the Austral islands as well as the Society islands.

A benefit concert for the victims of the Haiti earthquake has been deferred.

The government has also decided to defer a planned trip to the Tuamotu islands.