31 Dec 2012

Cyclone Freda approaches northern New Caledonia

7:07 pm on 31 December 2012

Tropical Cyclone Freda is expected to weaken as it approaches New Caledonia over the next day or so.

The category four cyclone is now in the Coral Sea having brought heavy rain and damaged crops in parts of Solomon Islands.

It is expected to be about 300 kilometres west of the northern New Caledonian islands of Belep by midnight on Monday.

New Zealand's MetService says the cyclone has sustained winds of 175 kilometres an hour at its centre with gusts reaching 275 kilometres an hour.

It says gales can be expected in the French territory's northernmost islands in the next 24 to 48 hours.

MetService says the slow-moving storm is expected to lie about 280 kilometres to the west of Poum, at the north of New Caledonia's main island, by noon on Wednesday.