Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tropical Cyclone Donna Expected to Strengthen and Impact Vanuatu, New Caledonia Into Next Week

Linda Lam
Published: May 6,2017

Tropical Cyclone Donna will intensify and is bringing damaging winds and heavy rain to the Republic of Vanuatu, in the South Pacific Ocean, this weekend. Donna is then expected to impact New Caledonia next 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 now the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale as of Saturday evening U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The tropical cyclone was centered just northwest of Vanuatu, which is an island chain about 1,200 miles northeast of Brisbane, Australia, and is tracking southwestward.

Current Satellite and Information
As of Friday night, local time, the government and aid agencies reported trees down and damage to homes and buildings, Radio New Zealand reported. On Saturday, continued hazardous weather made it difficult to determine the extent of damage, but there are indications that the Torres group of island have seen houses toppled and food gardens destroyed.

Forecast Details

Tropical Cyclone Donna is expected to steadily intensify, as vertical wind shear will be low and sea-surface temperatures are warm – around 85 degrees.
Current expectations are for Donna to reach the equivalent of a major hurricane (Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) by late this weekend, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
(MORE: 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast)
The upper-level pattern will allow Donna to turn south-southeastward by Monday. This will bring Donna closer to New Caledonia into early next week. 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 by wind and rain.

Projected Path
A tropical cyclone warning remains in effect for the Vanuatu provinces of Torba and Sanma. Damaging winds and heavy rainfall with flash flooding are expected are expected in those northern provinces. Rough seas and coastal flooding are also anticipated. The provinces of Malampa and Penma may be impacted, as well.
A cyclone watch is in effect in New Caledonia in advance of heavy rain and gusty winds.
Satellite imagery shows that bands of rain and gusty winds arrived late Thursday local time and continue to impact northern islands of Vanuatu as of Saturday night.
(FORECAST: Port Olry | Port Vila)
Occasional shower activity is likely in Vanuatu through Monday as the cyclone moves southward west of the island chain.
Winds and the tempo of shower activity will increase on Sunday into Monday in New Caledonia as Donna approaches.
(FORECAST: Poum | Noumea)

Rainfall Forecast
Locally heavy rain may lead to flash flooding and landslides in portions of the Solomon Islands, including the provinces of Makira, Rennell and Bellona, and Tetomtu, where a tropical cyclone warning is in effect.

Recent Tropical Cyclone's In The Region

Just 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.
MORE: Tropical Cyclone Winston Fiji Impacts, February 2016 (PHOTOS)

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