Parts of Vanuatu are bracing for “hurricane force” gusts of over 300km/h as the impacts of Severe Tropical Cyclone Lola are setting in.
It comes after Lola was upgraded to a Category 5 cyclone on Tuesday.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards warned of “very destructive” wind gusts and “phenomenal” swells over the next 24 hours.
“Very destructive hurricane force winds of 230km/h gusting to 320km/h are expected to affect Torba, Sanma, Penama & Malampa in the next 24hrs,” it said.
The department warned of destructive storm winds of 185km/h gusting to 265km/h too.It’s warning of heavy rain with flash flooding in low lying areas, including coastal flooding over Vanuatu on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Very rough seas with heavy to phenomenal swells are expected over all Vanuatu waters.”
Lola has become the earliest forming Category 5 cyclone outside of the Pacific’s official season, which starts on the 1st of November.
The New Zealand Government is asking Kiwis in Vanuatu to follow local advice, and to register themselves on the Safe Travel website.