Cyclone intensifying as it nears the Solomons

6:21 pm on 1 July 2015

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says flash floods and landslides are likely as Cyclone Raquel nears Solomon Islands.

On Wednesday afternoon the unseasonal cyclone was several hundred kilometres north of Honiara and heading south west.

Gusts of up to one-hundred-and-thirty kilometres an hour expected at its centre over the next 24 hours.

Gale force winds and floods are also predicted in Isabel and Western Province.

A spokesperson for the Bureau, Jess Carey, says heavy rain could cause flash floods or landslides over the next few days.

"We'd be expecting wind gusts upwards of 130 kilometres per hour and rainfall of several hundred millimetres in a 24 hr period so flash flooding is likely and those wind gusts can be very dangerous as well, and also landslides. So hopefully the community is aware of what is going on. They're already probably getting the edge of the storm at the moment."

Tropical Cyclone Raquel, south of the equator.

Tropical Cyclone Raquel, south of the equator. Photo: Metservice

Jess Carey says people should stay up to date with the latest forecast on their website or through the Solomon Islands metservice.

Meanwhile the tropical storm Chan-hom is threatening independence day celebrations in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and Guam.

The storm is moving northwest towards the CNMI and Guam where it is expected to hit in the next couple of days.

Our correspondent in CNMI Mark Rabago says people are prepared for severe weather but are concerned the storm will cause the cancellation of the July 4th parade.