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.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

APCEDI Alert 13P, Cyclone Ivy #14, 2004

Dear Colleagues

Alert 14, Cyclone Ivy 13P / 26 February 2004, Sydney 1200 EDT

It is now very possible that the centre of Ivy will pass directly over or just west of Port Vila with Category 3 Eyewall force winds and that by the time Ivy reaches Erromango and Tanna, it will be a Category 4 storm. This seriously increases the damage scenario across Central and Southern Vanuatu. Vanuatu NDMO have lost communications to almost all of the Northern and Central Islands. Donors will need to plan now on how to cope with this very widespread event which will have impacted every island in the nation by the time it is finished and likely done serious damage to the capital.

Reports are being posted at which is off of our main website at

Cyclone Ivy again formed a distinct but overcast eye as it approached Epi and Paama. The eyewall has now moved over Epi and is just going off the south shore in the direction of Emae which should be under or just east of the eye shortly. Ivy is now a Category 3 storm with very strong winds with sustained winds of 110 knots, much higher gusts, and torrential rains.

A large area of deep convection remains at the centre of the storm. The central core of deep convection reaches from southern Santo Island in the north to Erromango in the south and covers all the large Northern Islands and adjacent islets including the capital Vila. However instead of speeding up as forecasted, its forward speed continues slow at 4-6 knots to the south.

Torrential rains continue over the southern Southern Santo, Malakula, Maewo, Pentecost, Ambrym, Ambae, Epi the Shepherds, Efate, Erromango and Tanna. Intermittent heavy rains are over Northern Santo and the Banks Group in the north and Anatom in the south. Due to the slow forward speed of Ivy, this torrential rainfall situation will continue today throughout Northern, Central and Southern Vanuatu. It is finally beginning to clear from the Banks Group and Northern Santo and should start to clear from Maewo shortly.

Inner feeder bands with gales and heavy rains continue to effect Tikopia but Anuta is now clear. More heavy rain showers are moving into Vanikolo, but the rest of the Santa Cruz Group and the Torres Group just have patchy light to moderate showers.

Most predictive models continue to forecast Ivy tracking southerly across the length of Vanuatu throughout the next 24-36 hours and then on to the east of New Caledonia. The official track out of the JTWC has Ivy moving over the Central Islands today and over Vila this afternoon as a Category 3 storm and then on to the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia tomorrow as a Category 4 west of Tanna for 12 hours and then declining thereafter. As such, the APCEDI warnings will continue all of Vanuatu from the Banks Group south and for Anuta and Tikopia in the Solomons. The APCEDI alerts for the Santa Cruz Group and the Torres Group will be left up for one more report, but it is now likely that most of the Santa Cruz Group as well as Anuta are now out of harm’s way. If the eye feature maintains it current course, it will continue to pass over or just west of Emae in the next hour and then over Vila in about 4-6 hours.

The current situation is summarised as follows:

Damaging Category 3 Eyewall-strength Winds and Torrential Rains
Emae and Shepherd Islands

Damaging Category 2 Winds and Torrential Rains
Southern Malakula

Damaging Sustained Gales and Heavy Rain
Northern and Central Malakula

Sustained Gales and Heavy Rain approaching damaging hurricane force in the next 6-10 hours

Intermittent Gales and Heavy Rain associated with Inner Feeder Bands (Storm now moving away)
Southern Banks Group
New Caledonia
Loyalty Islands (Feeder Bands pushing in soon).

Given the Category 3 nature of the storm, damage overall at this time should be moderate to severe from Ambrym on south. Damage to the capital Vila could be severe. The danger from flash-flooding remains extremely high as the storm creeps so slowly toward the south. As Ivy continues this slow movement, very heavy widespread rainfall 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. 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 storm continues to pass slowly or even stalls. Locally severe to catastrophic damage will also likely occur in and around the eye of the storm. Varying degrees of crop damage are also likely. Seas will be very rough to phenomenal resulting in tidal flooding of low-lying areas.

Efate and the capital, Port Vila
Unless either the course or intensity of Ivy change in the next few hours, Port Vila is likely to receive moderate to severe damage with isolated areas of catastrophic damage. Electricity is out over most of the island although phones are still functioning in parts of Vila. NDMO has lost contact with almost all the Northern and Central Islands. It is likely that when the eyewall passes over Vila, most communication facilities will be knocked out. With the entire country including the capital impacted by this event, GOV and the people of Vanuatu will need serious assistance to coordinate the assessment and relief efforts.

Larger Northern and Central Vanuatu Islands
The centre of Ivy is just to the south of Epi. Torrential rains and damaging Category 2-3 winds have been pounding Maewo, Pentecost, Ambae, Santo, Ambrym and Malakula for 2 days and will continue for most of today although Santo and Banks will soon be out of the main convection. Epi, the Shepherds and Efate will likewise be under the central core all day. The slow moving nature of the storm mean that rainfalls in the hundreds of millimetres will have been registered throughout the region and will be continuing. This will certainly be causing flash flooding of many stream valleys and larger rivers. The situation in hill and mountain areas of Santo, Malakula, Ambae, Pentecost and Ambrym is of particular concern. as will be the high country on Erromango and Tanna.

Larger Southern Vanuatu Islands
The situation is now deteriorating in Erromango, Tanna and Anatom. The slow moving nature of the storm mean that rainfalls in the hundreds of millimetres will have been registered throughout the region and will be continuing. This will certainly be causing flash flooding of many stream valleys and larger rivers. The situation in hill and mountain areas of Erromango and Tanna is of particular concern.

GOV, NDMO and Donors should now prepare themselves for needing to make widespread assessments across almost all of big islands Vanuatu in the following days. This may be difficult as Vila itself is now likely to be directly hit and experience serious damage. In addition to flash flooding, coastal flooding and wind damage can be expected at least in localised areas near the centre.

Banks Group
The centre of the storm is finally moving away from the Banks Group. However, heavy feeder band activity remains in the south. The whole group has had very heavy rains, very rough seas and increasingly severe winds for almost 48 hours. With the centre having slowly moved over Mere Lava, this outer island may be particularly hard hit. With the cyclone pulling away from this Group, assessments should be done of the areas to determine the degree of wind damage and flooding. Crops are likely badly affected in some areas.

Anuta and Tikopia, Solomons
Anuta and Tikopia are now out of the centre of the storm but unfortunately still continue 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 48 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 remain over Vanikolo. Seas remain very rough. 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.

General Alert
Concerns in New Caledonia including the Loyalty Islands should continue to monitor this storm as it develops over the next few days. Feeder bands will begin moving into the Loyalties in the next few hours.

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

Kevin Vang
APCEDI Coordinator

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