Arona Ngari, the director of the Cook Islands Meteorological Service, said tropical depression TD03F was analysed southeast of the Solomon Islands as of 11am (Cook Islands time) yesterday.
Ngari said TD03F was slow-moving.
The potential for the system to develop into a tropical cyclone was low to moderate, he added.
“Global modelling has picked up the system and is moving it towards the southeast with a good possibility of intensifying,” Ngari said.
The predicted path of the system is to move north of Fiji and take a southeast track between Fiji and Samoa, he said.
Ngari said it was expected to pass over Niue and to the west of the Southern Cook Islands.
“Strong and gusty north northwesterly winds and heavy rain are expected for the Southern Cook Islands, especially for Palmerston Island and Rarotonga from New Year’s Eve.
“The Cook Islands Meteorological Service will keep the country informed of any further development of this system and any other systems.”
The Cook Islands is predicted to face two to three named cyclones this cyclone season, which began in November and will end in April next year.
In a statement released in October, the New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said the Southern Cook Islands may experience two to three named cyclones, which is higher than average for the islands. For the Northern Cook Islands, zero to one cyclones have been projected.
The forecasters indicated that another seven to 11 named tropical cyclones (TC) could occur in the Southwest Pacific basin this coming cyclone season, following the very early TC Liua that formed in September this year.