The Weather Network – Cyclone Harold, the strongest storm in the world as it leaves Vanuatu


Monday, April 6, 2020, 7:16 p.m. – Category 4 storm brought damaging winds, floods, storm surges and heavy rain after landing in Vanuatu on Monday

Three months after the start of 2020, Hurricane Harold is the most violent storm on the planet, a tropical cyclone at the end of the season that left serious damage and deaths in its path.

The storm caused damaging winds, flooding rain and storm surges on Monday as it hit the Republic of Vanuatu as a major Category 4 storm, arriving in the morning on Espiritu Santo Island from archipelago. The storm further intensified as it passed, reaching peak winds of 265 km / h and cementing its peak condition as a Category 5 storm.

“There is a lot of damage in Sanma, they lost a lot of buildings,” Jacqueline de Gaillande, CEO of the Vanuatu Red Cross told Reuters by phone from Port Vila.

The storm took 27 people from a ferry to the Solomon Islands when it crossed the country on Friday. In Vanuatu, no deaths have yet been reported, but the storm severely disrupted communications and damaged several structures.

Before the storm started, authorities in Vanuatu declared a red alert in several provinces, urging people to prepare. The country has been in an emergency since late March due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Vanuatu is one of the few countries in the world with no confirmed cases of the virus, but there are widespread fears that an epidemic may occur, as its health system would be hard pressed to cope.

The storm is easing out of Vanuatu, but should still be around Category 4 or 3 as it passes Fiji’s most populous Viti Levu Island on Wednesday.

At the very least, Viti Levu can expect to see bands of heavy rain and gusts of wind, even if the center of Harold passes south of the island. Larger impacts would occur if the storm moved to the north side of the projected trajectory.


According to media reports, police in the Solomon Islands found five bodies in search of 27 people missing after they were swept away by a cyclone as it passed through the islands on Friday.

The passengers were taken from a passenger ship that was on its way from Honiara to the port of West Are Are in the province of Malaita. They were returning in a charter as part of the COVID-19 emergency plans.

“Cyclone” is the name given to a tropical disturbance that forms in the Indian Ocean or the South Pacific. These storms are called hurricanes in the Atlantic and typhoons in the North Pacific, and form in the same way, although cyclones rotate clockwise.


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