8 Mar 2013

Cyclone named near Solomon Islands

11:28 am on 8 March 2013

The Brisbane Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre says it has just named a new tropical cyclone, Sandra, which is heading towards Solomon Islands.

Senior Forecaster, Pradeep Singh, says the system is currently graded as category one but it is expected to intensify over the weekend as it travels slowly northeast.

He says the cyclone is likely to bring strong winds of up to 165 kilometres per hour, heavy rain and flooding to Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and possibly New Caledonia over the next few days.

"Tropical Cyclone Sandra was located about 990km to the northeast of MacKay along the north Australian coast. Its moving in an easterly direction at 13 km/hr. During the weekend it's likely to intensify to category 3 or even category 4. And if it continues moving in an easterly track it's likely to affect small islands to the east of Australia which include Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia."