29 Dec 2012

Tropical depression of Solomons develops into a tropical cyclone

9:23 am on 29 December 2012

The Fiji met service says the tropical depression off Solomon Islands has developed into a tropical cyclone.

It says tropical cyclone Freda - a category one system - is to the south of the country and is moving at 8 knots.

A tropical cyclone warning is now in force for Makira, Malaita, Guadalcanal, Temotu, Sikaiana, Rennell and Bellona islands.

The Fiji met service's duty forecaster, Rajneel Prasad, says close to the centre it has winds of over 55 kilometres an hour, with momentary gust of 95 kilometres.

"It's over the southern most island of Solomon Islands, that's Rennell, and on our forecast track it will continue to move southwards. It's pretty slow moving at the moment, it's moving around 8 knots."

Rajneel Prasad says the Solomons is experiencing heavy rain at the moment and that is expected to continue over the next few days.

The Solomons National Emergency Operations Centre began issuing warnings to people yesterday to prepare for possible flooding and damage if a tropical cyclone hits.