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Tropical cyclone Jasper threatens New Caledonia
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16:51, March 24, 2009

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The French authorities in New Caledonia have posted an "orange" alert in response to a tropical cyclone Jasper, which has formed in the past 12 hours in the Coral Sea, Oceania Flash reported on Tuesday.

The "orange" alert has been placed on the Northern part of the main island.

At the weekend, heavy down pour in most of New Caledonia has caused flooding in the northern parts of the main island.

Over the past six hours, Jasper has been upgraded by Australian Bureau of Meteorology to a category two cyclone.

Its movement speed is relatively fast and estimated at around 20 km per hour in an east-south-easterly direction.

According to the Joint Tropical Warning Center from the U.S. Navy, Jasper currently bears a moderate wind speed (just over 50 knots, 95 km per hour) near its center, with an associated low pressure of 978 Hectopascal.

But it has the potential to develop into a "significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours."

If Jasper maintains its current track, it could approach the North-Western tip of New Caledonia's main island, the Grande Terre within the next 15 hours.


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