Vanuatu switches into recovery mode as Cyclone Donna moves away

Government building left hanging at Tagabe after Cyclone Donna flooding. Photo: Joel Ates via Facebook

Government building left hanging at Tagabe after Cyclone Donna flooding. Photo: Joel Ates via Facebook

Cyclone Donna has moved on to New Caledonia and is now weakening. The only major damage so far reported – except for garden damage – was along the length of the Forestry Department HQ at Tagabe where a deep gorge has been carved out by floodwater from Cyclone Donna overflowing the Read the rest of this entry »

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Donna now Category 5 cyclone; wind gusts up to 300km/h

Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna has been upgraded to a Category 5 system. Currently, it is about offshore, 295km off Malakula, and 370km west of Efate. Its offshore trajectory means that Vanuatu’s islands will be spared the full force of the most destructive winds, which are gusting at 300km/h. However, Vanuatu Meteo is taking no chances and is warning of destructive winds up to 160km/h tonight in Sanma, Malampa and Shefa provinces. Heavy rainfall, flooding and storm surges are also likely.

No loss of life or major damage to homes or infrastructure have been reported by Read the rest of this entry »


Cyclone Donna reaches Cat 4 strength offshore: alerts remain in place

TC Donna is now a Category 4 cyclone, with winds at the centre of 165km/h and gusts up to 235km/h. It stretches the full length of the country. Damage to buildings and crops have been reported in the Torres and Banks islands. All domestic flights in the country are cancelled.

Cyclone Donna continues to wobble out at sea, but nevertheless remains extremely dangerous. The track forecast by Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Dept shows it weakening and heading away towards New Caledonia. However, the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center warns that Cyclone Donna’s full intensity may not be felt for another 48 hours, and its path will remain erratic.

Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru Palau and the Marshall Islands delivered a hard-hitting joint statement on the plight of West Papua to the 79-member Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States meeting at ministerial level this week in Brussels. Authored by MP Johnny Koanapo, Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office, the packed council room was trans-fixed as he described Indonesia’s violations and the West Papuan slow-motion genocide. (Daily Post). Read the rest of this entry »


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. Read the rest of this entry »


[Updated] Arrival of Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna imminent: Torba province now on Red Alert

Latest composite satellite image of Cyclone Donna from Japan Meteorological Agency/US NOAA

Latest composite satellite image of Cyclone Donna from Japan Meteorological Agency/US NOAA

[Updated 9:30pm 4/5] Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna (Category 3) is currently 170km NE of the Torres Islands, 175km N of Vanua Lava and tracking WNW at 12km/h. It is predicted to make first landfall in northern Vanuatu as a Category 3 system tomorrow morning, May 5.

A Red Alert has been issued for Torba Province by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department. A Yellow Alert is current for Sanma and Penama provinces and a Blue Alert for Malampa province. Flash flooding and phenomenal seas with waves over 10m are expected in Vanuatu waters as Cyclone Donna approaches. Wind speeds in a Category 3 cyclone range between 165 and 224km/h.

The GFS model forecast suggests that Cyclone Donna may make a sharp turn southward within 24-48hrs towards Vanuatu’s central and southern islands, following Vanuatu’s ‘cyclone alley’ — although this could change.

Cyclone Donna is the second tropical cyclone to form in Vanuatu the space of a month, following Cyclone Cook in early April. Vanuatu’s official cyclone season ended on April 30.

We urge our readers to start preparing well ahead of the cyclone’s arrival, and keep visiting Vanuatu Digest for updates.

Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department has a new website just in time for Cyclone Donna, and VMGD’s cyclone warnings can be found on this page, the cyclone tracking map here, or you can listen to Radio Vanuatu’s frequent updates.

The latest cyclone warning (#10) from VMDG is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »


Cyclone Cook at Category 2 and intensifying; currently west of Efate

Image: Japan Meteorological Agency/NOAA

As predicted, a tropical cyclone – named Cook — formed overnight and is currently positioned just to the north-west of Efate. It has now intensified to a Category 2 storm, and is slowing down, with destructive storm force winds of 95km/h, gusting to 130km/h hitting Efate and islands in the rest of Shefa and Malampa provinces. Gale force winds will continue to affect Sanma, Penama provinces, then later on today, Tafea province too.

Because the cyclone is both intensifying and slowing, residents are advised to take shelter and stay indoors until further notice, as the wind speed may pick up significantly. Flash flooding and power outages have been reported on Efate.


2016 Budget tabled in Parliament; Severe weather ahead; International Day of Forests today

Forests are vital for our water supply. Photo: supplied

Forests are vital for our water supply. Photo: supplied

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