12 Jan 2011

Tropical cyclone develops near Vanuatu

12:52 pm on 12 January 2011

A tropical cyclone near Vanuatu is causing strong winds and is likely to intensify over the next 12 hours.

The Vanuatu Met Office says damaging winds by Cyclone Vania will affect Shefa and Tafea provinces today.

The office's manager of Forecasting, David Gibson, says the system is strengthening.

"For the Central and mostly the Southern islands [of Vanuatu] possibly 30 or 40 knot winds, some heavy rainfall and possibly flooding, as well as coastal flooding. Seas are very rough at the moment, so we're not expecting any vessels to go out until the system moves out of the area."

David Gibson says the system is likely to move on a southwesterly track, towards New Caledonia.

The French high commission says the cyclone is on track to affect the Loyalty Islands by tomorrow afternoon.

The public is advised to take the usual precautions, such as storing water and food.