31 Dec 2012

Cyclone Freda approaches northern New Caledonia

3:59 pm on 31 December 2012

Tropical Cyclone Freda is in the Coral Sea and nearing New Caledonia after bringing heavy rain and damaging crops in Solomon Islands.

Cyclone Freda, which is less than 500 kilometres from the island of Belep, has been moving slowly in a southwesterly direction but is predicted to assume a southeasterly path over the next three days.

New Caledonia is still on pre-alert as the system's centre is forecast to move to within 400 kilometres of Belep during the night and is expected to weaken.

According to forecasters in New Caledonia, the storm has sustained winds of 175 kilometers an hour with gusts reaching 275 kilometres an hour.

The cyclone has caused rough seas, with estimated 12-metre waves close to its centre.