Freda hits New Caledonia
For the last few days we’ve been waiting for tropical depression, Freda, to hit New Caledonia. Whether or not it would turn into a cyclone was not certain (in English, it is also called a hurricane, as this is what cyclones are called in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific).
We went into a cyclone “pre-alert” on Sunday, 30 December. This means that we were free to move about, but needed to stock up on supplies and listen closely to the media reports on the progress of the storm.
And since then, Freda has transitioned from a tropical depression to a Category 4 storm, to a cyclone, back to a depression (this morning).
Yesterday, Freda hit Belep (a commune in the North Province of New Caledonia) and is slowly (at 10 km per hour) sweeping south. Belep was declared under orange alert yesterday (this meant that individuals were to return home and stay inside) and today at 17.00, it was lifted. There were no injuries.
Electricity is out in some parts of the north (close to 2,000 homes in Canala) and was due to be restored this evening. Roads are flooded and electrical lines are down.
Streams are swelling into rivers and one youth is missing tonight, having been swept away by a river, having tried to swim across it earlier this afternoon.
The country is on alert to take cover and be safe. Though not on orange alert, we are now experiencing such heavy rains (and the palms are being so roughly thrashed about) that it is not safe to drive. The wind gusts are over 100 km per hour in some places.
Flights to and from the Loyalty Islands and Ile des Pins have been cancelled.
With regard to our little family, all is well. We have stocked up and are safe. My husband will most likely go to work tomorrow and relay more news as he has it. We will stay safe, playing games, reading books, building remote control objects, and observing the storm. We will see if our daughter, visiting from university, will carry on with her driving lessons or not tomorrow morning …
Happy New Year, everyone!