10 Feb 2010

Cyclone Pat moving slowly towards Aitutaki in Cook Islands

8:17 am on 10 February 2010

People in the southern Cook Islands are making preparations to their homes and businesses in preparation for Cyclone Pat.

Recent forecasts put the Category 2 cyclone 289 kilometres north/northeast of Aitutaki.

It is tracking southwest at about seven knots.

Inspector John Hoskings, who has been on duty overnight, says there is very little impact so far:

"Tropical cyclone gale warning for Aitutaki and Nga Putoru, which comprises Atiu, Mitiaro and Mauke, at the moment they are not feeling anything yet. For the rest of the southern Cooks, like Rarotonga itself, we are on a tropical cyclone alert. Over the next say 12 hours it is expected we Tropical Cyclone Pat will be 50 miles north northeast of Aitutaki."

Businesses on Rarotonga have been getting ready for the cyclone putting up shutters.

Tourism accommodators have a list of safety centres located inland in the event of a storm surge.