21 Feb 2011

Slow moving Tropical Cyclone Atu continues to bash Vanuatu

11:28 am on 21 February 2011

Tropical Cyclone Atu is still expected to strengthen and is currently battering Shefa province in Vanuatu.

It is slow moving and is currently sitting some 150 kilometres off the capital Port Vila and is moving southward.

Vanuatu's Meteorological Office says destructive storm force winds gusting up 130 kilometres an hour are affecting most of Shefa province.

Gale force winds are still affecting Malampa province but

are expected to subside in the coming hours.

Lead forecaster at Vanuatu's Meteorological Office, David Gibson says the little information is available at present, but the cyclone is likely to have caused some damage:

"To gardens yes, and to some homes which are semi permanent, yes, around Efate and mostly the southern part of Vanuatu."

Mr Gibson says Atu is due to begin affecting Tafea province in the next few hours.

The cyclone is still intensifying and very destructive hurricane winds of 165 kilometres an hour gusting up to 235 kilometres an hour are expected in the next 12 to 24 hours.