Cyclone Donna turns to southeast; future path and intensity unclear

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

As of the latest cyclone warning #16 from the Vanuatu Meteorology Dept, at 3pm today Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Donna was about 80km NNW of the Torres Islands and 215km NW of Gaua, moving slowly in a southeast direction at 5km/h. Central pressure is 954 hPa. Winds at the centre were estimated to be 145km/h gusting to 205km/h. Schools have been told to close in the northern provinces. The image above shows damage from Cyclone Donna to a school on Vanua Lava.

Most meteorological forecast models predict Cyclone Donna will take a path away from Vanuatu’s islands and will weaken over the next three days as it heads southeast. However, this cyclone is very slow moving and could change direction and intensity at any time, so please prepare for the worst. This is still a very dangerous cyclone, and it will bring destructive storm surges, flooding and heavy rain even if it doesn’t make landfall. We’ll keep you updated here.

In other news: contractual negotiations with CCECC for the Bauerfield runway modifications are being finalised. Lot 1 of the project involves the modifications to cater for Code E aircraft operations at Bauerfield. This needs reconstruction of the main runway and taxiway, reconstruction of existing aprons and new taxiways and holding areas. Lot 2 brings in the resurfacing of Pekoa airport and works at Whitegrass. Korean consulting engineers have been terminated and the Government says replacement consultant negotiations are progressing well. The project is given topmost priority by the Vanuatu Government.

Japan is said to be very pleased with the project progress on Lapetasi Wharf on the Port Vila Main Wharf Road. Timing was always important, the Adviser to the Japanese aid agency JICA said. This is because cargo shipping had to continually move around the works on the new wharf site. Accidents had to be avoided. The two year project still has seven months available, but already 7,000 square metres of concrete hard stand was made available to Ifira Ports and General Services last Friday. There are are still ancillary services needing to be completed. Ifira Paramount Chief Mantoi Kalsakau was immensely pleased with the dedication of project workers and leaders. (Daily Post)