10 Feb 2010

Damaging winds forecast for southern Cook Islands

3:29 pm on 10 February 2010

Damaging winds and rain are still being forecast for several islands in the southern Cook Islands as Cyclone Pat approaches.

A short time ago the cyclone was about 170 kilometres from Aitutaki and 400 kilometres from Rarotonga.

At the centre of the cyclone occasional gusts of up to 180 kilometres an hour are expected, with Aitutaki and close by smaller islands likely to get winds this afternoon of up to 170 kilometres with heavy rain, damaging sea swells with coastal flooding.

Damaging gale force winds are expected on Rarotonga early tomorrow.

Police inspector John Strickland says people on Aitutaki are well prepared.

"As we speak I just want to advise that the island's emergency operations has been activated this morning. They have been maintaining their monitoring of the cyclone as well, and taking from our reports as well, here in Rarotonga. Thirdly, all hotel managers around the island have been updated and advised of the latest developments. As far as moving to higher ground that has been in action since this morning to be prepared."