AFAP manages the Australian-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information (APCEDI) to provide news on natural disaster events in the Asia-Pacific region and to help with rapid disaster response assessment. This was originally a communications network that was activated during a disaster to disseminate information to our Asia-Pacific NGO offices. Now APCEDI has a much wider application across the Asia-Pacific Region.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

APCEDI Alert 13P, Cyclone Ivy #10, 2004

Dear Colleagues

Alert 10, Cyclone Ivy 13P / 25 February 2004, Sydney 1100 EDT

Cyclone Ivy is slowly moving over the Banks Group and into the area of the large Northern Islands of Vanuatu. It is maintaining its strength as a borderline Category 1-2 Cyclone which could strengthen during the day although models disagree. The centre of the storm recently formed an eye-like feature just east of the Banks Group in the vicinity of Mere Lava which has tracked to just west of the Northern tip of Maewo. The formation of an eye indicates strengthening into a more solid Category 2 storm.

The slow moving nature of the storm is becoming increasingly problematic with high rainfall totals throughout the Banks Group and Northern Islands of Vanuatu, and the likelihood of further high totals in the next 12-24 hours. Torrential rains are now over the Banks Group, Santo, Malakula, Maewo, Pentecost, Ambrym and Ambae and this will continue all day into tonight and spread southward.

Inner feeder bands with severe gales and heavy rains continue to effect Anuta and Tikopia, the Torres Group and most of the Santa Cruz Group. However the storm should be clearing from these areas in the next 6-12 hours if it maintains its more southerly course.

Ivy is now beginning to more closely match model predictions although there is still some significant degree of variance. Most predictive models are now showing Ivy tracking southerly across the length of Vanuatu throughout the next 24-48 hours. The official track out of the JTWC has Ivy moving over the Northern Islands to just west of Vila tonight as a Category 2-3 storm and then on to the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia tomorrow as a Category 3. As such, the APCEDI warnings will continue all of Vanuatu and all the Santa Cruz Group. If the eye feature maintains it current course, it would move it over Santo in about 4-6 hours.

The current situation is summarised as follows:

Possible Damaging Category 1-2 Eyewall-strength Gales and Torrential Rains
Banks Group particularly over Mere Lava
Maewo particularly on the northern end of the island.

Damaging Sustained Category 1-2 Cyclonic Gales and Heavy Rain

Sustained Gales and Heavy Rain approaching damaging hurricane force in the next 2-4 hours
Shepherd Islands

Sustained Gales and Heavy Rain approaching damaging hurricane force in the next 4-8 hours

Intermittent Gales and Heavy Rain associated with Inner Feeder Bands (Storm now moving away)
Torres Group

Alert for Increasing Threat of Gales and Heavy Winds tonight and tomorrow

Given the continuing Category 1-2 nature of the storm, damage at this time should be light to moderate and localised. However, locally moderate to severe damage could occur near to the centre of the storm. Main threats will continue to include lowland tidal flooding and flash-flooding in hill and mountain areas. Varying degrees of crop damage is also likely. As Ivy continues to be slow moving, this will likely result in heavy localised rainfall which could result in flash-flooding of mountain and hill areas as well as known flood prone areas. This is especially critical for the large Vanuatu Islands particularly Santo. Due to the islands’ very high relief and the slow movement of the storm, flash flooding will be a major threat throughout tonight and tomorrow especially if the the storms passes over the islands slowly or even stalls. If a central eye wall manages to emerge later tonight, and the storm strengthens to Category 2-3, damage along its path will certainly be more severe.

Banks Group
The centre of the storm is now over this group with a possible formative eye feature near Mere Lava. The whole group has had very heavy rains, very rough seas and increasingly severe winds for almost 24 hours with another 6-12 to go. With the centre slowly moving over Mere Lava, this outer island may be particularly hard hit. With the cyclone pulling away from these groups in the next 6-12 hours, assessments should be done of the areas to determine the degree of wind damage and flooding which will likely be a major threat particularly on the larger Banks Islands and the more low-lying atolls.

Anuta and Tikopia, Solomons
Anuta and Tikopia are now out of the centre area of the storm and in the inner feeder bands. Gales and heavy rains should start subsiding in the next 6 hours and become more intermittent and less severe after this. Light to moderate damage caused by tidal flooding of low-lying areas, crop damage and possibly some damage to unstable structures is expected given the nearly 24 hours of punishment by this storm. However, the overall damage will not be anywhere as bad as with Cyclone Zoe. However, the cumulative effects of 3 major cyclones in 14 months (Zoe, Gina and now Ivy) may well be wearing down the ability of the people and their environment and its resources to sustainably cope. NDMO and Donors should endeavour to make contact with the islands to assess both the immediate effects of Ivy and cumulative effects of the last 3 storms on the overall situation.

Torres Groups, Vanuatu and Santa Cruz Group, Solomons
Inner feeder bands with heavy rains and squalls continue over this region. Seas will be very rough as well. The Torres Group, Vanikolo and to a lesser extent Utupua have received very heavy rainfall from their proximity to this slow moving storm so some flooding may have occurred. They should be assessed later today. The remainder of the Group has likely only experienced minor coastal flooding, but contact to all the all the smaller outliers should be undertaken to verify this.

Larger Vanuatu Islands
GOV, NDMO and Donors should now prepare themselves for needing to make widespread assessments across most of the big islands of northern Vanuatu tomorrow and in the following days. While the Category 1-2 size of the storm should limit damage, the slow movement of the storm could still bring serious flash flooding in hill areas. Coastal flooding and wind damage can be expected at least in localised areas near the centre. Plans need to be made with the knowledge that the capital Vila is also likely to be impacted by the storm.

General Alert
Authorities in Vanuatu from the Torres Islands to Anatom (including Torres and Banks Islands, Pentecost, Ambae, Santo, Malakula, Ambrym, Paama, Ulveah, Epi, Shepherd Islands, Efate, Erromango, Tanna and Anatom including all small islands in these areas) as well as all of the Santa Cruz Group in the Eastern Solomons should be on alert, monitor the path of the storm closely throughout tonight and tomorrow and take immediate actions to protect people and property. People in mountain areas along the eastern and southern slopes of ranges should be on alert for heavy rain resulting in flash flooding. Low lying coastal areas especially along east and southern parts of large islands should also be on alert for tidal flooding.

Concerns in New Caledonia including the Loyalty Islands should continue to monitor this storm as it develops over the next few days.

APCEDI will continue monitoring the event. More detailed information about the storm can be found on

Kevin Vang
APCEDI Coordinator

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