20 Jan 2011

Depression near Wallis could become cyclone

2:31 pm on 20 January 2011

A tropical depression forming near Wallis and Futuna could develop into a cyclone by the weekend, and hit Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

An active trough of low pressure with associated cloud and rain is currently near Wallis and Futuna.

A cyclone forecaster at the Fiji Metservice, Terry Atalifo, says the system is currently a disturbance, but it is likely to be upgraded to a depression by Friday morning.

He says there's a 50/50 chance of it becoming a cyclone.

"If it develops into a cyclone, the convergance zone associated with it will affect Samoa, and then it moves down towards Tonga. In terms of winds it will affect Samoa and Tonga, for Fiji most probably just rain will affect the Fiji group."

Terry Atalifo says another system is in the vicinity of New Caledonia, which will bring rain and wind, but is unlikely to turn into a cyclone.