Strong winds, no cyclone

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The National – Wednesday, February 2, 2011

PORT Moresby residents have been warned of possible strong winds as a result of Cyclone Yasi, which is moving southwest towards North Queensland in Australia.
Weather experts said the tropical cyclone was formed on Monday morning between Fiji and Vanuatu and had moved westerly from Honiara in the Solomon Islands towards the Australian state.
Papua New Guinea senior weather forecaster Kwekweina Maiwori, however, warned that Milne Bay and parts of Central, including the Abau areas of Aroma Coast, and Port Moresby could experience some strong winds.
In related developments:
lNational airline Air Niugini had advised of possible disruptions to its services between Port Moresby and Cairns today as a result of the cyclone. An Air Niugini aircraft servicing Cairns yesterday did not overnight but returned to Port Moresby; and
*Reports from Cairns yesterday said cars were lining up the service stations with several already out or low on unleaded fuel supplies. Also, a number of shops had run out of water bottles while supplies of canned foods had run low as residents moved to higher grounds.
In a statement, Air Niugini said it planned to operate PX 90 and PX 93 today, however, this is
subject to the airport remaining open and the airline’s assessment that the operation could be
undertaken safely.
The disruptions to Cairns could affect other Air Niugini operations on the network today, tomorrow and Friday.
“Customers  ticketed to travel to Cairns via Port Moresby had been advised to reconsider.
“Air Niugini sales staff will assist to revalidate ticket to another date free of charge if customers wish to change their travel dates,” the airline said.
“The situation is beyond Air Niugini’s control and we request our customers to take note of this.
“Those who insist to continue their journey will meet their own expenses.
“Air Niugini will not meet the accommodation and meals costs of passengers disrupted from the Cairns services.” 
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Brisbane yesterday said Cyclone Yasi, rated at category 3, was expected to intensify overnight as it moved towards the Coral Sea. It would then turn on a more west-southwesterly direction in the next 12 hours.
At 4pm yesterday, the cyclone was estimated to be 1,020km east northeast of Cairns and Townsville, moving west-southwest at 34km per hour.
Commenting on cyclone warning emails circulated in Port Moresby yesterday, the National Weather Service confirmed that there was no need for alarm.
“It is out of our path but we have maintained strong wind warnings with gale force which could be accompanied by rain and thunderstorms for Milne Bay and Central,” Maiwori said.
“Places that the cyclone may affect include the Rossel and Misima islands, Sudest and other neighbouring islands in Milne Bay.
“Port Moresby and the Abau areas of Aroma Coast may experience some strong winds.
“Strong winds were felt during the early hours of (yesterday) morning at about 4am.”