6 Apr 2020

TC Harold is now a powerful category 5 cyclone

9:57 am on 6 April 2020

Tropical Cyclone Harold has increased to a monster category 5 cyclone with sustained winds close to its centre of 215km/h according to the Vanuatu Meteorology service.

The system is moving slowly in a north north-easterly direction at 7km and extreme weather will be felt in parts of the Vanuatu group as the system continues to move closer.

Forecast tracking map for Tropical Cyclone Harold

Forecast tracking map for Tropical Cyclone Harold Photo: Fiji Meteorological Service

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department said maximum sustained winds close to its centre are estimated at 215km/h, with gusts up to to 235km/h.

The National Disaster Management Office said the provinces of Sanma, Penama and Malampa are on Red Alert while Torba and Shefa are on Yellow Alert.

Sanma, Penama and Malampa Provinces can expect damaging gale force winds, destructive storm force winds and hurricane force winds from tonight and continuing tomorrow.

Heavy rainfall and flash flooding over low-lying areas and areas close to river banks including coastal flooding is expected these provinces.

The Disaster Management Office advised people, including those in sea-going vessels, not to go out to sea within affected areas until the system has moved out of the area.