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Tropical Cyclone #HAROLD becomes the 2nd strongest cyclone to hit Vanuatu on record – peaks at 165 knots (912 mbar)!

Here is a recap post of the extremely powerful Category 5 Tropical Cyclone #Harold over Vanuatu. The system has peaked at 165 mph (145 knots) and 912 mbar at 12 UTC today, Apr 6th. One-third of Vanuatu population has been affected, severe wind damage and flooding has been reported. Harold’s behavior now indicates that the inner eyewall is collapsing due to the system’s interaction with the islands to its west. While it remains in extremely favorable very hot sea waters, Harold may organize an eyewall again before it heads towards the Fiji archipelago and Tonga.


NEW UPDATE: Tropical Cyclone #HAROLD remains a powerful Category 4 system – it will blast the main #Fiji’s island Viti Levu with destructive winds and flooding today

Tropical Cyclone #HAROLD remains a powerful Category 4 system – it will blast the main #Fiji’s island Viti Levu with destructive winds and flooding today


The latest satellite imagery is indicating Harold is losing its strength, the eyewall is collapsing which is perfectly visible as it has a trochoidal wobbling. The CDO (Central Dense Overcast) is getting warmer, indicating the system is undergoing a land-induced EWRC (Harold’s main inflow region is feeding from the west, passing through the islands and across the cold wake of the cyclone):






Stunning view at the first and the final light today – a spectacular stadium effect is seen on the western eyewall while Harold was just about to make landfall on Espiritu Santo island (upper image). And a very similar effect on the final light as well – we can also see the hub cloud in the eye.

Harold has peaked around 12 UTC today, Apr 6th. As it can be seen on the Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) analysis, the raw T numbers are going down due to the EWRC and likely eyewall collapsing.

12-hour intervals of Harold’s intensity:

  • 145 knots – Apr 6th, 12 UTC
  • 115 knots – Apr 6th, 00 UTC
  • 120 knots – Apr 5th, 12 UTC
  • 105 knots – Apr 5th, 00 UTC
  • 115 knots – Apr 4th, 12 UTC
  • 90 knots – Apr 4th, 00 UTC
  • 50 knots – Apr 3rd, 12 UTC

Vanuatu has a population of around 300.000 people, one-third of those have been affected by Harold. The relatively slow-moving system made a significant and locally destructive wind and flooding damage. Here are some reports of wind destruction – collapsed buildings from the main street of Luganville on Espiritu Santo island. The second image indicates rough seas pushing the ship ashore:







Harold’s future track remains on previous thinking and should be moving southeast while gradually weakening, but will remain a very powerful tropical system. It is likely it will remain a Category 4 while passing near southern Fiji archipelago on Wednesday and Tonga 23-48 hours later. The deep-layer shear will remain very low for two more days, while the system remains in a still very favorable ocean heat (see the attached OHC map). This should support further deep convective activity and Harold’s severe intensity, nevertheless.

There have only been four (4) tropical cyclones of Category 4 near northern Vanuatu over the last 30 years, Cyclone Pam (2015) being the last one before Harold. Pam had the maximum 1-minute sustained winds of 175 mph (152 knots) and central pressure 896 mbar. So this makes Cyclone Harold the 2nd strongest tropical cyclones on record over Vanuatu – maximum 1-minute sustained winds of 165 mph (145 knots) and central pressure 912 mbar.



Stay tuned for further updates before Harold approaches the Fiji archipelago.

See the previous updates & discussions:


Extremely powerful Category 5 #HAROLD continues intensifying while crossing the #Vanuatu islands, supporting destructive 150-170 mph winds



A *monster* Category 5 Tropical Cyclone #HAROLD will graze #Vanuatu islands over the next 24 hours – destructive 120-130 knots winds and flooding expected



Pinhole eye develops with the Tropical Cyclone #HAROLD – heading for a potentially devastating Category 4 landfall on #Vanuatu on Tuesday


The explosive development of Tropical Cyclone #HAROLD (former Invest 90P) in the Salomon Sea – heading towards the severe impact on Vanuatu early next week