Arona Ngari, director of the Cook Islands Meteorological Service, said the cyclone is behaving “pretty much as expected”.
At 3pm yesterday, Ian was moving in a northwest direction from Tonga at a speed of 5 knots.
Ngari said the cyclone looks set to swing around and come back in a southeast direction once it intensifies.
“If that happens, it will be about 300 to 500 km away from the Cooks by the weekend. That’s still quite far away.”
He said wind speeds at the centre of the cyclone are 40 knots.
“The winds are not particularly strong but are expected to increase once it starts moving towards the southeast.”
A cloud band associated with the cyclone has been dumping much-needed rain across the southern group since the weekend.
The rain is expected to cease in Rarotonga by this morning but will continue in the outer islands for a few days, Ngari said.
While winds from the storm will not affect the group, heavy sea surges should be anticipated.
Ngari urged people to stay on guard and be well-prepared, given the region is in the middle of the cyclone season.