31 Jan 2006

Cyclone Jim over New Caledonia's Loyalty islands

4:21 pm on 31 January 2006

Tropical Cyclone Jim has reached the northern end of the Loyalty Island group in New Caledonia which is on maximum alert.

The cyclone is moving between the territory's main island and Vanuatu towards waters between New Zealand and Fiji.

The lead forecaster at the Fiji Meteorological Service, Balbir Singh, says the cyclone is bringing hurricane force winds.

"It's tacking rapidly southeast at 20 knots which is about 40 kilometres per hour. The cyclone still has hurricane force intensity winds, possibly 72 to 75 knots, but is expected to weaken further as it is moving south east. It is anticipated that the hurricane force winds will decrease to 60 knots in the next 24 hours."

Balbir Singh of the Fiji Met Service