By Netani Rika
VILLAGERS on Vanuatu’s outer islands have been warned to expect damaging winds of up to 205kmph as Tropical Cyclone Hola heads south towards New Caledonia.
There are no reports of major damage at this stage.
Philip Meto from the National Disaster Management Office told Radio Australia they had received reports that some buildings had been damaged and trees brought down.
The Category Three system passed through central Vanuatu overnight before taking a more southerly track towards neighbouring New Caledonia.
It is expected to intensify and move closer to New Zealand over the next 48 hours.
TC Hola is moving at 11kmph and has winds of over 100kmph at its centre. Meteorologists say wind speeds will intensify.
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number 11 issued by the Vanuatu Meteorology Department, Port Vila at 9:27am VUT Thursday 8 March 2018 for MALAMPA and SHEFA provinces.
At 8am local time today, Severe Tropical Cyclone HOLA [954hPa] Category 3 was located at 17.0 degrees South 165.8 degrees East. This is about 195 KM west southwest of Malekula and 280 KM west northwest of Efate.
In the past 3 hours, Severe Tropical Cyclone HOLA was moving in a west southwest direction at 11 KM/HR (6 knots).
Sustained winds close to the centre are estimated at 150 KM/HR (80 knots).
South 165.3 degrees East within the next 06 hours.
Damaging gale force winds of 75 KM/HR (40 knots) are expected to continue to affect SANMA, PENAMA and TAFEA provinces today.
Destructive storm force winds of 110KM/HR (60 Knots), gusting to 160 KM/HR (85 Knots) are expected to continue to affect MALAMPA and SHEFA provinces today and in the next 12 to 24 hours.
Very destructive hurricane force winds of 145 KM/HR (85 knots), gusting to 205KM/HR (110 knots) are expected over Malekula, Epi, Shepherds and parts of Efate.