Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold continues to move towards Vanuatu as of Sunday, April 5. The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department issued tropical cyclone warnings for Torba, Sanma, Penama, and Malampa provinces at 11:58 (local time) on Sunday. Damaging gale force winds are expected to hit the affected provinces through Sunday, along with very rough to phenomenal seas. Heavy rainfall and flooding in low lying areas, and landslides are also forecast. All residents are being asked to stay in a safe shelter, turn off all gas and electricity, and stay away from doors and windows. Associated infrastructure damage, power outages, and transportation disruptions are expected over the coming hours and days.
As of 11:00 on Sunday, Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold is a Category 4 storm and located at approximately 15.5°S 165.8°E (map here). Harold is moving south-southeast at 4 kph (2 mph) and has maximum sustained winds at 175 kph (108 mph). It is possible that the cyclone will briefly intensify into a Category 5 storm later on Sunday or on Monday, April 6.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, anticipate adverse weather and power and transportation disruptions, and remember that running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) is enough to knock over an adult - and never drive through flooded streets; floodwater may also contain wastewater and chemical products.
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