Vanuatu braces as monster Cyclone Harold strengthens in Pacific

A deadly cyclone bearing down on the Pacific nation of Vanuatu has intensified into a Category Five super storm, generating destructive winds and "phenomenal" seas, forecasters said Monday, SIA reports referring to AP.

Tropical cyclone Harold, which claimed 27 lives when it swept through the Solomon Islands last week, strengthened overnight Sunday as it moved east, Vanuatu's meteorology service said. It said the cyclone was now packing winds of up to 235 kilometres per hour, prompting red alerts in the provinces of Sanma, Torba, Penama and Malampa.

Officials warned residents in the nation of 300,000 to expect flash flooding and said ships should stay in port or risk facing huge swells on the high seas. Harold is forecast to pass north of the capital Port Vila early Tuesday.

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