Gabrielle intensifying as it heads towards Norfolk Island

Photo: Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Meteorological services expect Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle will move up to a cyclone category three on Friday.

It is currently a category 2 storm off the coast of Queensland.

A category 3 tropical cyclone, with the upgraded “severe” designation, has an average wind speed of between 119 km/h and 157 km/h.

Gabrielle is expected to move from the Coral Sea between New Caledonia and Australia and head towards Norfolk Island on Saturday afternoon.

It is currently located 1200km from the island of Belep in the north of New Caledonia.

Emergency services on Norfolk Island have had activated their cyclone response plan after the tropical low became Cyclone Gabrielle.

A forecaster at Meteo-France New Caledonia, Virgil Carero, said the storm will reinforce itself in the coming days as it lightly touches New Caledonia.

“It will pass 500 kilometres from us, thus we are expecting gale force winds of up to 92 kilometres an hour.”

“It will continue to descend the 13th, 14th and 15th in the north of New Zealand. There, the models show a rise in intensity when the system enters the North Island.”

Three-quarters of New Caledonia is under advisement to stay vigilant, as thunderstorms and rain are expected to intensify throughout the day.

The tropical cyclone is expected to come closest to the New Caledonian coast on Friday, reaching a point 500km from its south-west coast.