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Cyclone bears down on the Solomon Islands

Saturday December 29, 2012 - 16:59 EDT

Meteorologists say a tropical cyclone which is bearing down on the southern Solomon Islands could bring thunderstorms and flooding to low lying coastal areas.

Tropical Cyclone Freda is currently closest to Rennell Island but the category two system is being felt in most provinces and islands.

It is generating winds of 85 kilometres per hour, with gusts of up to 120 kilometres per hour.

Coastal and low lying areas are at risk of inundation and fishermen have been advised to stay away from the sea.

Sanjay Prakash, from the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre at the Fiji Met Service, says Cyclone Freda is also affecting the capital, Honiara.

"It has got storm force winds close to the centre so Rennell Island is experiencing storm force winds now and the rest Honiara and islands very close to Makira are experiencing gale force winds."

A tropical cyclone warning is in place for Rennell and Bellona, Makira and Guadalcanal Islands.

Australian weather forecaster Peter Otto says the tropical cyclone is about 1,300 kilometres from the Australia's coast.

"This cyclone is expected to stay way off the eastern Australian coast for the next several days and the only impact we can see in the near future is the possibility of waves increasing into the early part of next week, but that's a long way off," he said.

Cyclone Freda is forecast to continue moving south west at 13 kilometres per hour and reach New Caledonia on New Years Eve.

It comes just two weeks after destructive Cyclone Evan caused widespread devastation in Samoa and Fiji.


© ABC 2012

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