By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather meteorologist
May 9,2017, 8:58:06AM,EDT
Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna will continue to bring heavy rain and strong winds to New Caledonia through Wednesday.
Donna has weakened to a Category 3 severe tropical cyclone, or the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific basins, but threats continue across New Caledonia.
Torrential rain and destructive winds will impact New Caledonia with the Loyalty Islands at greatest risk as the cyclone passes through the area on Wednesday.
Massive seas in excess of 8 meters (26 feet) have built over the eastern Coral Sea around Donna, posing extreme dangers to those with shipping interests.
Donna will pass over or dangerously close to New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands into Wednesday morning. The cyclone will be close enough to New Caledonia's main island, Grand Terre, that some impacts will be felt across southeastern parts of the island.
A track slightly more to the west would have resulted in significantly greater impacts to Grand Terre; however, the cyclone jogged slightly to the east on Tuesday sparing the island from the most widespread impacts.
"Though Donna will be weakening while passing through the region, it will still be strong enough to bring flooding rainfall and locally damaging winds," Douty said.
Wind gusts could reach as high as 130 km/h (80 mph) across the Loyalty Islands. Wind gusts over 65 km/h (40 mph) are possible in southern parts of Grand Terre.
Rainfall of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) will be common across the Loyalty Islands with local amounts over 150 mm (6 inches) resulting in flooding.
Vanuatu weather center
AccuWeather tropical cyclone center
Matthew and Otto retired as Atlantic hurricane names after the storms turned deadly, destructive in 2016
The demise of Donna will come after midweek as it tracks south of New Caledonia and combines with a non-tropical system.
The combination of Donna and a non-tropical low will bring locally heavy rainfall and the threat for flooding to the North Island of New Zealand on Thursday and Friday.
Donna became a Category 5 severe tropical cyclone, or the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific basins, earlier this week. At that time, Donna was the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere during the month of May.
Donna downed trees and destroyed a church and many homes as it barreled through Vanuatu's far northern province of Torba late last week, according to World Vision. The village of Sola in Torba was inundated with more than 250 mm (10 inches) of rain from Wednesday afternoon to Friday, local time.
Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, received more than 190 mm (7.48 inches) of rain from Saturday through Monday.
Many schools will remain closed until further notice across Vanuatu, according to the Vanuatu Daily Post .
The worst conditions have ended across Vanuatu as Donna is now moving away from the islands.