Several days ago, I discussed how the huge increase in tropical activity across the southern Pacific showed just how active the MJO was. I haven’t talked too much about individual storms, but there are currently three tropical cyclones near Australia. One is actually impacting the western Australia coast in the Indian Ocean, but my main focus has been on what’s occurring over the southern Pacific.
Because of the high impact that Tropical Cyclone Pam is currently having on Vanuatu, I felt that it was necessary to do a brief article on it. Pam currently has sustained winds around 165 mph with gusts up to 200 mph and is directly hitting Port Vila, the capital city. The eye wall has the strongest winds and given that the eye is over Port Vila, they are likely getting slammed with category 5 force winds.
The population of Vanuatu is around 250,000 with Port Vila having around 45,000 people (that’s a rough estimate). The buildings and structures are poorly designed in many areas on the island, so unfortunately, extensive damage is likely occurring. Even in more developed countries, these kinds of winds would cause catastrophic damage. You can only imagine what’s happening there.
This is the strongest cyclone that has been in the southern Pacific in many years and will likely rival some of the strongest hurricanes/typhoons/tropical cyclones ever recorded. I will keep you updated as I get more information.