17 Feb 2019

Cyclone Oma weakens, drops to a category two

6:10 pm on 17 February 2019

Vanuatu's Meteorology service has downgraded Tropical Cyclone Oma to a category two cyclone.

In the past 3 hours, Tropical Cyclone Oma was slow moving west south-westerly at 4 kph and away from Vanuatu.

Earlier, it had stalled west of Vanuatu's biggest island of Santo.

Cyclone Oma, to the west of Vanuatu's Santo

Cyclone Oma, to the west of Vanuatu's Santo Photo: Fiji Met Service

The storm had lashed the northern islands of the country over the past 24 hours, reportedly bringing down trees and houses in the area.

The cyclone is about 280 kilometres west southwest of Santo and 365 kilometres west northwest of Malekula.

The storm is packing gusts of up to 110 km/hr.

The Vanuatu Red Cross said food gardens and crops had been damaged in the northern provinces.

The system is still expected to move away from Vanuatu and to the north of New Caledonia later today.

Schools in New Caledonia's northern province were closed because of Cyclone Oma.

However authorities expected to reopen them on Wednesday.

Over the past week the storm's track has completely looped numerous times in Vanuatu waters.

Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office advised that a Red Alert was still in force for Sanma Province.