New cyclone threat looms in Pacific
A tropical depression is highly likely to turn into a cyclone later today and hammer the Solomon Islands before moving into the Tasman Sea, weather forecasters say.
The Nadi-Tropical Cyclone Centre in Fiji forecasts that within 72 hours will become a category two cyclone with winds up to 116 kmh. It will be named Freda later today.
The depression is around 400 kilometres north east of the Solomon's capital of Honiara and it is tracking south west to pass south of Guadalcanal.
Most of the major islands of the archipelago are under a weather watch.
"Heavy rain at times and squally thunderstorms over most provinces and islands," the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service advises.
"People should take precautionary measures as bad weather associated with the tropical depression poses threats to lives and properties."
The storm comes two weeks after Cyclone Evan came into life 2000 kilometres to the east and wreaked widespread damage to Samoa, Wallis and Futuna and Fiji.
The new weather system was 2700km nor-northeast of Auckland, which was the area that nurtured cyclones that have in the past reached New Zealand.