30 Dec 2012

Cyclone Freda hits Solomon Islands

6:28 am on 30 December 2012

Tropical Cyclone Freda has hit Solomon Islands with strong winds and heavy rain flattening trees and lifting roofs.

The cyclone has been upgraded to a category two storm, on a five-category scale.

The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service said the cyclone is in full force on Rennell Island and the country's major island Makira.

Forecaster Manoah Tepa said he's had reports of roofs lifting off houses on Makira Island, which has been the hardest hit so far.

There has been flooding in some areas from rising rivers, but no reports of injuries.

Mr Tepa said winds of up to 130 km/h are expected in Rennell and Bellona Islands while all remaining areas of the Solomons will face heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Cyclone Freda is expected to affect the country until early Monday morning.

Earlier this month Cyclone Evan caused major flooding when it hit Samoa as a category two storm resulting in at least five deaths. The storm went on to hit Fiji, strengthening to a category four cyclone as it pounded the main island of Viti Levu.