The National Weather Service says this is due to Ex-Tropical Cyclone Penny, sitting in the Coral Sea, which will most likely head south-east.
The strong winds and rain being experienced have been attributed to the country being subjected to two extremes; Ex-TC Penny and another depression, both in the Coral Sea that merged last night, causing rains in most part of the Southern region, New Britain and other parts of the country.
“What is happening is the country is being subjected to a lot of strong winds. So at this time we have in place gale force wind warning of usually 34 to 48 knots. That’s like 68km per hour to 96km per hour,” said the Director of National Weather Service, Samuel Maiha.
He said Milne Bay Province will be affected by the gale force winds over the next 24 to 48 hours.
“But to be on the safe side, what we have done is issue a gale force strength warning for the rest of the country but I think it’s really Milne Bay, Oro in terms of the winds.”
He clarified that winds that can be very deceptive to people on the coast.
“It can be deceptively calm, but when you just go a kilometer out, the winds are very strong so the people should be aware.”
Renewed strong wind and gale winds warning have been issued for strong north-west surge of 25/34 knots with stronger gusts reaching 48 knots, which are expected to continue for the next 24 hours, causing rough seas and high sea waves.
“Particularly for West New Britain and New Britain. There is a lot of risk for flooding.”
It is forecasted the strong winds and rain should subside by next week Tuesday. Floods are expected with a high possibility of landslips in the Highlands region.
(The NWS wind map with Ex-Tropical Cyclone Penny circled in red)