Cyclone Donna, will bring strong winds over Fiji waters

The 80 plus islands that make up the nation of Vanuatu were blanketed by the clouds of Tropical Cyclone Donna when NASA's Terra satellite passed overhead.

It's still absolutely vital those in Vanuatu remain ready for severe weather though - as you can see in this map below the storm is not tracking in a straight line and it is going to turn south tonight/overnight. Powerful thunderstorms circled the center of the storm and a large, thick band of thunderstorms wrapped into the center from the south-southwest. At this time the system is not forecast to impact New Caledonia.

Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office had activated its National Emergency Operations Centre.

Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department said the storm was 205km northeast of Sola, in the north of the island group, early on Thursday.

The New Caledonia Meteorological and Climatological Department issued a Yellow Strong Wind Alert for the northwestern area of the territory.

Cyclone Donna could cause extensive wind damage and flooding. Coldest cloud tops were as cold as minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 53 degrees Celsius.

Cyclone Donna could develop into a destructive category three depression. Donna was a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

World Vision Vanuatu country director Mike Wolfe told NZME since Cyclone Pam, staff had been working with communities on "how they're going to be prepared for disaster, and what they're going to do in times of disaster".

The centre of Donna itself is likely to track to the EAST of East Cape based on the latest couple of days guidance, but the two giant high pressure systems east and west of New Zealand next week will be her controllers and traffic lights along her southern path - so it's all about their placement later next week which will determine if New Zealand just has a period of rain, or rain heavy enough to prompt severe weather warnings.

Donna is expected to peak in intensity on May 7 and 8 at 115 knots. Environmental conditions are favorable for intensification with low vertical wind shear and sea surface temperatures near 30°C (86°F). According to the JTWC, tropical storm force winds extend up to 85 mi (135 km) from Donna's center and hurricane force winds now extend up to 20 mi (32 km) from the cyclone's center.

  • Leroy Wright