Cyclone warning issued for Northern Cooks

12:57 pm on 16 January 2016

The category two cyclone Victor appears to be slowly moving away from the northern Cook Islands, instead tracking towards the main island of Rarotonga.

A map forecasting the path Cyclone Victor is likely to take through Cook Islands waters on Saturday and Sunday.

A map forecasting the path Cyclone Victor is likely to take through Cook Islands waters on Saturday and Sunday. Photo: Fiji Meteorological Service

The Fiji Meteorological Service -- responsible for monitoring and naming cyclones in the southeast Pacific -- says Victor is moving southwest at nine kilometres an hour.

The system currently has winds of more than 90 kilometres an hour at its centre, and it is expected to intensify as it moves towards the more populated southern Cooks -- although a direct hit is not forecast.

Despite Victor moving away, severe weather warnings have been issued for the northern atolls of Rakahanga, Manihiki, Suwarrow, Nassau, and Pukapuka.

They can expect damaging gale force winds, periods of heavy rain, and squally thunderstorms.

High seas are also forecast, which has the potential to cause flooding in low-lying areas.

The rest of the northern Cook Islands can expect strong winds with average speeds of 46 kilometres an hour and gusting to 74 kilometres, periods of heavy rain and few squally thunderstorms.

American Samoa

To the west, a tropical storm warnings has been issued for American Samoa's Manu'a islands.

Victor is about 321 kilometres east of Manu'a and moving south, away from the territory.

Our correspondent says Manu'a should get the worst of the heavy winds while the main island Tutuila isn't expected to upgrade beyond a wind advisory.

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