20 Jan 2023

Irene now a tropical low but warnings remain for Vanuatu, Fiji

10:39 am on 20 January 2023
Cyclone Irene damage in Port Vila.

Photo: Hilaire Bule

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department says ex-tropical Cyclone Irene is now a 'tropical low'.

Its final update came at 9:16pm on Thursday, Vanuatu time.

The department said it would continue to monitor the situaiton, and would re-activate the information should the system re-intensify.

The National Disaster Management Office cleared all alerts.

At 4:24am on Friday, an inland severe weather warning was issued for Friday and Saturday, saying isolated heavy rainfall and thunder remained over the northern and central Islands.

People were advised to take extra precaution for possible flash-flooding, landslide and coastal flooding over low lying areas, and areas close to river banks.

At its peak, Irene caused flooding and power cuts in Vanuatu's main city and closed roads.

Yesterday, government staff were told to stay home after an red alert was issued by the department.

By the afternoon, those workers were told they could go back into their offices while banks and businesses reopened.

In Fiji, a marine gale warning was issued at 6:30am on Friday, local time.

Around 7:30, the Fiji Meteorological Service issued its final tropical disturbance advisory on Irene which said that the weather movement was weakening.

However, a heavy rain warning, a flash flood alert and a coastal inundation alert were issued for parts of Fiji on Friday morning.