Category 3 cyclone to hit Vanua Levu on Sunday

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 12, 2010) – A tropical cyclone alert has been issued for the French Pacific islands of Wallis and Futuna.

The Met Service in Nadi says a tropical depression has formed and is now about 250 kilometres northeast of Wallis.

The system is intensifying and is expected to develop into a tropical cyclone in 12 to 24 hours.

[PIR editor’s note: According to Tropical Storm Risk, the storm was expected to loop above Wallis and Futuna, moving westward before turning south in a straight line heading directly for the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji. The storm is expected to grow in intensity, first to a category 2 cyclone with winds of up to 110 miles per hour, then increasing to a category 3 with winds up to 130 miles per hour by Sunday, when it is expected to reach Vanua Levu.]

Forecasters expect damaging gale force winds and periods of heavy rain and squally thunderstorns for Wallis, and wind increasing over the next 36-48 hours for Futuna.

And heavy rainfall is expected throughout the northern and central parts of Vanuatu over the next day.

The Vanuatu metservice is expecting looding is expected over low lying areas.

A marine wind warning has been issued for all open waters of the Vanuatu group.

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