Pacific islands face fourth cyclone in a month

Storm warnings were hoisted across the South Pacific on Saturday as Cyclone Percy became the fourth violent storm in a month to hit the region, with the tiny island group of Tokelau directly in its path.

Eight other territories were warned to monitor the cyclone’s route closely for any deviation.

“Direct or near-direct hits by Percy are possible for all Tokelau islands on the current track,” the Australian-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information warned as Percy followed cyclones Meena, Olaf and Nancy into the Pacific.

Authorities in American Samoa, Samoa Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Niue and French Polynesia were also warned they could be hit.

Gale and storm warnings were posted in most areas with winds up to 200kph an hour expected, along with heavy rain and sea swells up to 10m.

On its present course, Percy is expected to threaten Tokelau directly and then move towards Swains Island in American Samoa and the northern Cook Islands.

The 1 400 residents on Tokelau’s three main atolls were told Percy could be a category two to three cyclone on a scale up to five by the time it hits.

Regional forecasters described Percy as an “explosive development” and residents on Swains Island were advised to prepare for destructive winds and seas.

Olaf swept through the Pacific last week, just days after Nancy and two weeks after Meena, which hit at the beginning of February.

The Cook Islands were worst hit by Meena and American Samoa by Olaf.—Sapa-AFP


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