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New Caledonia on alert for Tropical Cyclone June

Saturday January 18, 2014 - 13:30 EDT
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Strong winds and heavy rain expected in northern New Caledonia Saturday afternoon as Tropical Cyclone June hovers around the French Territory - ABC licensed

Strong winds and heavy rain are expected in northern New Caledonia over the next six hours as Tropical Cyclone June hovers around the French Territory.

Forecasters says the category one cyclone is relatively small and is currently located more than 100 kilometres north west of Koumac.

The storm is being tracked by the Fiji Met Service in Nadi.

Duty forecaster Shelwin Singh says although it's only a small system, the winds can still be strong.

"It is located approximately 140 kilometres to the north west of Koumac and it is still a category one cyclone and we expect sustained winds of approx 75 kilometres per hour," he said.

The President of New Caledonia had earlier warned his people to be vigilant as Tropical Cyclone June heads towards the French Territory.

Some resort areas in the northern province are reported to have been evacuated ahead of the storm.

Neville Koop, the Meteorology and Climatology Adviser at the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program, says residents should be prepared.

"How fast it moves will determine how intense it's going to be when it gets there," he said.

"It will certainly be a category one system, and possibly a category two system, but it could be a category three if it doesn't move quite so fast and has more time to intensify before it reaches New Caledonia."

The tropical cyclone watch for Solomon Islands has been cancelled as the storm continues to track south towards New Caledonia, parts of which remain on orange alert.

Winds of around 30 to 50 kilometres per hour, and reaching 55 kilometres per hour at times are expected over Rennell & Bellona, Southern Makira and Guadalcanal Islands.


© ABC 2014

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