The second cyclone of the 2014-2015 season was yesterday afternoon passing to the north of Papeete and was expected to reach Rurutu, 572kms southwest of Tahiti by last night.
Cyclone Niko was rated category 1, but was expected to be upgraded to category 2 said Cook Islands Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari.
The system had maximum sustained winds of 85kmh (equivalent to a tropical storm) and was moving at 13km.
While the cyclone was not affecting weather in the northern Cook Islands, Ngari warned that it marked the start of the typically unsettled weather that often affected the country in January and February. Radio New Zealand reported Fiji Met Service's acting director, Aminiasi Duidraki, as saying the cyclone was likely to dissipate as it moves over cooler seas.
“There's a little bit of cooling in the ocean temperature. So maybe that's affecting the delay of the onset of the tropical cyclone season.”
While the Fiji Met Service was describing Niko as the first cyclone of the season, Ngari said it was actually the second to be the subject of a special notification.