31 Jan 2011

Cyclone Yasi now Category 2 and battering northern Vanuatu province

11:18 am on 31 January 2011

Cyclone Yasi has been upgraded to a category two tropical cyclone as winds of 50 to 60 knots hit the northern provinces of Vanuatu.

The cyclone reached islands in the Northern Torba province in the early hours of this morning and the Vanuatu Meteorological Service expects it will hang around for the next 6 to 12 hours.

Met Service forecaster, Fred Jockley, says it's of a similar intensity to the recent Cyclone Vania, with gusts up to 130 kilometres an hour, which destroyed crops in the south.

"It's a category 2 tropical cyclone so I would say compared to the last cyclone that hit the southern group it is more or less the same sort of intensity."

Fred Jockley says rough seas and flooding are also forecast.