Tropical cyclone OMA continued south towards northern New Caledonia, weakening. Heavy rainfall, strong winds and storm surge are affecting central islands of Vanuatu. According to media reports, 30 houses were destroyed in Espiritu Santo Island.
On 18 February at 0.00 UTC, its centre was located approximately 260 km north of Belep Islands (north of Grand Terre Island, New Caledonia), with maximum sustained winds of 93 km/h (tropical storm).
It is forecast to continue south-southwest toward northern New Caledonia, slighty strenghtening but remaining a tropical storm. OMA could pass far off the coast of northern Grand Terre on 19-20 February, strenghthening, with maximum sustained winds up to 130 km/h.
Over the next 24 hours, heavy rainfall, strong winds and storm surge will continue to affect central islands of Vanuatu as well as over northern New Caledonia.
As of 18 February, a level two cyclone alert has been issued for the northern Grande Terre Island and Belep Islands, with the rest of New Caledonia under pre-alert. Emergency shelters have already been opened and schools shut.