A level 2 hurricane warning, the highest, will be activated throughout New Caledonia on Saturday 6 March, due to the passage of cyclone Niran.
It generates winds of 170 km / h near the center and gusts of up to 240 km / h and is currently located around 750 km in the far north of New Caledonia. A tsunami warning was triggered overnight after an 8.1 magnitude earthquake near the Kermadec Islands. The rise in the water level was much lower than expected and two hours later the alert was launched in all French Pacific territories.
“ Niran accelerates her course and moves east southeast. In the next 24 hours, this tropical cyclone could reach its peak intensity with gusts of around 270 km / h near its center. “, said Météo-France NC. Cyclone alert number 2, which recommends staying confined inside homes, will trigger Saturday morning at 6 am (8 pm in Paris on Friday) in 25 municipalities of Grande Terre and the Loyalty Islands, and will then be extended for two hours after to the whole archipelago.
Populations living in coastal areas have also been asked to evacuate
It will approach New Caledonia and its center is expected to pass a few dozen kilometers northwest of Grande Terre on Saturday. Then skim the southwest of Grande Terre at the end of the day. It will therefore be an intense tropical cyclone. “ Its intensity and location at this time, however, remain subject to uncertainty. “, still moderates Météo-France NC. But specifying: “ At this stage, it is not entirely excluded that the center of the cyclone, with the strongest winds close to the eye, will touch Grande Terre. “
Given the heavy rains and the expected violence of the winds, several municipalities, including Nouméa where 10,000 people live in precarious housing, have opened shelters. Populations living in coastal areas have also been asked to evacuate, due to the risk of marine submersion. National airline Aircal has also repaired its four planes in Brisbane, Australia.