Published: May 3,2017
Tropical Cyclone Donna will intensify and is expected to bring damaging winds and heavy rain to the Republic of Vanuatu, in the South Pacific Ocean, this week.
This latest tropical cyclone is technically an out-of-season system, as tropical season in the Southern Hemisphere extends from November to April. However, tropical cyclones can form in any month of the year.
(MORE: Hurricane Central)
Donna is the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale as of Wednesday evening U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The tropical cyclone is located northeast of Vanuatu, which is an island chain about 1,200 miles northeast of Brisbane, Australia, and is tracking westward.
Current Satellite and Information
Forecast DetailsTropical Cyclone Donna is expected to continue to steadily intensify, as vertical wind shear is low and sea-surface temperatures are warm – around 85 degrees. Given the favorable conditions, Donna may strengthen faster than currently forecast.
Current expectations are for Donna to reach the equivalent of a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).
(MORE: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast)
The upper-level pattern will allow Donna to turn southwestward Thursday and then more southerly. This will bring Donna close to Vanuatu late week into the weekend. There is considerable disagreement regarding the exact path among the computer models, which makes a difference as far as how much the islands will be affected.
Donna could potentially make landfall in northern Vanuatu as a powerful tropical cyclone late week or this weekend.
(FORECAST: Port Olry | Port Vila | White Sands)
Widespread rainfall totals of over 6 inches are expected through Monday, with more than 12 inches possible in some of the northern islands.
Recent Tropical Cyclone's In The RegionJust a month ago, Tropical Cyclone Cook formed in this area and made landfall in New Caledonia.
Two years ago in March 2015, Tropical Cyclone Pam brought one of the worst natural disasters to Vanuatu. Pam made a direct hit as the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.
(MORE: Vanuatu Residents Running Out of Food Amid Devastation of Cyclone Pam)
The island of Tanna, in southern Vanuatu, suffered major damage and cut the island off from the rest of the world. Vanuatu's capital, Port Vila, suffered damage to an estimated 90 percent of its buildings, and tens of thousands were left homeless.
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