Tropical Cyclone Oma is predicted to produce heavy surf affecting the coasts of Australia, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu as of Monday, February 18. The storm stalled west of Vanuatu over the weekend and weakened slightly. The cyclone is expected to move south-southwest over the coming days, passing just west of New Caledonia. As of 05:00 (local time) on Monday, the storm was producing sustained winds of 100 km/h (62 mph) and it is expected to strengthen to sustained winds of 150 km/h (92 mph). Wind damage is expected for areas on Vanuatu and New Caledonia, particularly the northwest end of Grand Terre. Infrastructure damage and power disruptions are possible, as well as flooding.
The storm is also producing heavy surf that will be felt as far as Australia's Queensland coast. Waves as high as 9 m (26 ft) are possible. Dangerous storm surge and waves are possible for beaches in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Australia even at large distances from the cyclone. Australia's Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Fraser Island are particularly at risk. Hazardous conditions are forecast to begin on Wednesday, February 20, and strengthen through the week until Sunday, February 24.
Cyclone season in the region typically lasts from November to April but storms can occur outside this period.
Individuals present in the abovementioned areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, refrain from oceangoing activity if conditions remain hazardous, and follow all instructions as issued by local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders). In the event of flooding, remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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