Tropical Cyclone Donna bearing down on Vanuatu, could hit New Zealand

Cyclone Donna over Vanuatu
A satellite image of Cyclone Donna over Vanuatu (

Vanuatu residents are battening down the hatches as a category 2 tropical cyclone heads for the island group.

Tropical Cyclone Donna is moving in a southwesterly direction, bringing damaging winds gusting up to 130km/h, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department is forecasting.

It's the third cyclone in the South Pacific for the season. Cyclone Debbie devastated parts of New Zealand in April, followed by Cyclone Cook which hit the North Island's east coast.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are also expected to hit the islands.

It's not clear if Cyclone Donna will get to New Zealand, but WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan says we may have rain and flooding next week.

"What we're seeing is a low in the Tasman working in conjunction with the remnants of Donna. A storm is not expected in New Zealand at this stage, but a period of heavy rain is looking increasingly possible and could be slow moving and intense enough to cause problems."

He says there'll be a clearer idea of the potential impact by the weekend.