The Brisbane Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre says it has just named a new tropical cyclone, Sandra, which is heading towards Solomon Islands.

Senior Forecaster, Pradeep Singh, says the system is currently graded as category one but it is expected to intensify over the weekend as it travels slowly northeast.

He says the cyclone is likely to bring strong winds of up to 165 kilometres per hour, heavy rain and flooding to Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and possibly New Caledonia over the next few days.

“Tropical Cyclone Sandra was located about 990km to the northeast of MacKay along the north Australian coast. It’s moving in an easterly direction at 13 km/hr. During the weekend it’s likely to intensify to category 3 or even category 4. And if it continues moving in an easterly track it’s likely to affect small islands to the east of Australia which include Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.”

The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service says that it is important that people listen to advice on the radio as the cyclone nears.

“We have issued warnings to those in Rennell, Makira, South Guadalcanal and Russell Islands, they are likely to feel the effects as the storm nears,” the MET service said in a statement.

“We have advised that they take all necessary precautions to ensure that they are safe, particularly within the next 24 hours.”


With Radio New Zealand International