Tropical Cyclone (TC) Oma has been upgraded to category 2 and is expected to move slowly towards the south before moving away from Vanuatu by the end of the week.

The cyclone is still maintaining its strength but could be downgraded when it moves further south and passes over the cold water that cross its path, said the Forecast Division.

“Cold sea temperature will reduce its intensity. A cyclone will maintain its strength as long as it remains over warm water.

“The tropical low was able to grow into a cyclone because of the warm waters north of Vanuatu, which acts as fuel for cyclone.

“A cyclone will also weaken once it moves over land”.

After developing into a tropical cyclone, Oma remained in its position near Santo and Banks for a very long time yesterday before tracking west.

The atmospheric circulation (south and easterly winds) that drives the system has not change thus, contributing to the cyclone stationary, according to the Forecast Division.

“The cyclone will continue its track as predicted down south before turning south west. It’s strength will be reduce as it moves further south to where the sea surface temperate is cold,” the Forecast Division stated.

As of 6pm yesterday, TC Oma was moving in a southerly direction at 4km/hr.

While analyzing the path of the cyclone, the Forecast Division said a category 2 cyclone will be able to uproot trees and crops and bring minor damages to the coast as experienced in Torba Province.

Following the upgrade of cyclone Oma to category 2 yesterday and based on the advice from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) instructed all schools to close for all students to remain at home until NDMO declares it is safe.

The Yellow Alert has been issued for Shefa Province yesterday which means schools in Efate, Epi and Shepherds could also be closed while Red Alert remains effective for Torba, Sanma, Penama and Malampa.

Communities in the affected provinces are warned to prepare as they are expecting destructive winds, heavy rainfall and possible flooding including rough seas to remain throughout this week.

Some families in Torba Province have moved into evacuation centers because of the cyclone.

The tropical low formed around the Coral Sea a few weeks ago before developing into a tropical cyclone.

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