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Wellington (AFP) Dec 28, 2012
A fresh cyclone was brewing in the South Pacific Friday, forecasters said, just two weeks after destructive Cyclone Evan caused widespread devastation in Samoa and Fiji.
A cyclone warning has been issued for the Solomon Islands which are expected to bear the brunt of winds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour (60 mph) over the weekend before the storm swings towards New Caledonia.
Although it was in its formative stages Friday, the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said it had the potential to develop into a "significant tropical cyclone" over the next 24 hours.
In the Solomon Islands, fishermen were urged not to go to sea and people living in coastal areas were advised to move to higher ground.
Chief forecaster Manoah Tepa told reporters "rough seas, heavy rain and strong winds" were expected.
New Zealand-based meteorological service Weatherwatch said the storm, expected to be named Freda, was expected to be over New Caledonia on New Year's Day.
"It's formed in a perfect place for cyclones -- in the Coral Sea, which is a breeding ground for them," WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said.
"It's a very, very warm body of water off the Queensland coast towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomons."
Cyclone Evan left a swathe of devastation in its wake, destroying homes, flooding rivers and stranding thousands of tourists in Fiji.
Before arriving in Fiji, it pummelled neighbouring Samoa, killing at least five.
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