Weather: Cyclone Donna threatens 'very destructive' winds in Vanuatu

Cyclone Donna looms in Vanuatu
Cyclone Donna looms at Vanuatu's Bayerfield International Airport (Rose Jacobs / Instagram)

Tropical Cyclone Donna has been upgraded to a category three storm and is expected to hit Vanuatu overnight, bringing "very destructive" hurricane force winds gusting up to 205km/h, meteorologists say.

It's too far away to tell if it will impact New Zealand, but the cyclone is moving south over Vanuatu for the next few days. MetService says it has the potential to become a category four over the weekend.

"Next Thursday in New Zealand shows a weak low in the Tasman Sea crossing over the upper North Island and linking up with the rainy remnants of Donna," forecasters WeatherWatch say.

Very destructive winds and rough seas with heavy swells will affect the northern islands of Vanuatu, the Pacific nation's Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department says.

"We advise New Zealanders in Vanuatu to monitor weather reports and follow the advice of the local authorities at all times (including evacuation orders) and seek suitable shelter," New Zealand's High Commission in Vanuatu says.

New Zealand's weekend weather looks much more serene. "The broad ridge of high pressure moves onto the country this weekend," MetService says.

"This makes for clear skies, light winds and cold autumnal mornings during Saturday and Sunday, especially in sheltered inland valleys and basins of the South Island."

In 2015, Vanuatu was left devastated by category five storm Cyclone Pam.