6 Jan 2014

Forecasters say cyclone Ian unlikely to make landfall

10:55 pm on 6 January 2014

Forecasters in Fiji say they do not expect tropical cyclone Ian to make landfall on Tonga.

The Fiji Meteorological Service says the category one cyclone is about 194 kilometres northwest of Ha'apai and Vava'u island groups.

A forecaster at the Fiji Metservice, Aminiasi Tuidraketi says the cyclone is slow moving and the wind speed is averaging 75 kilometres per hour close to its centre.

He says the cyclone is trying to travel south but a high pressure ridge is preventing it from doing so.

"There's still the uncertainty. It might just spin around and go back on a southwest or westward track. The high pressure to the south of Tonga is holding that system to just be maintained. So at the moment we are not even projecting it to go over land."

Aminiasi Tuidraketi says tropical cyclone Ian may bring damaging gale force winds over the Ha'apai and Vava'u groups, which can expect heavy rain, squally thunderstorms and very rough to high seas.