Tropical Cyclone Harold Hammers Vanuatu as a Category 5 and Will Pass Near Fiji and Tonga This Week
- Tropical Cyclone Harold became a Category 5 beast as it carved through Vanuatu.
- Destructive winds, flooding rain and storm-surge flooding have likely impacted parts of Vanuatu.
- Harold was only the fifth Category 5 cyclone to track near Vanuatu since 1988.
- Harold will track near or south of Fiji and Tonga through midweek.
Tropical Cyclone Harold is finally moving away from the Republic of Vanuatu after raking parts of the islands as a Category 5 storm with destructive winds, flooding rain and storm surge.
Harold’s center made landfall on Vanuatu’s Espiritu Santo Island on Monday morning, local time. The island has a population of approximately 40,000 people. From there, the eyewall of Harold moved directly across nearby Pentecost Island.
As of late Monday morning Eastern Daylight Time (early Tuesday morning Vanuatu time), Harold’s eyewall had finally pulled east of the larger islands of northern Vanuatu with maximum sustained winds equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Bands of heavy rain and strong winds were still lashing parts of Vanuatu, and would continue