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Cyclone Ula intensifies to category three as it wends through the South Pacific towards Vanuatu

Saturday January 9, 2016 - 10:23 EDT
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Tropical Cyclone Ula strengthens as it heads towards Vanuatu - ABC

Severe Tropical Cylcone Ula has returned to category three strength, bringing winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour as it tracks slowly west south-westerly away from Fiji towards Vanuatu.

The first cyclone of 2016 had weakened to a category one after , as a category three system last Saturday.

It caused damage to crops and homes but no casualties, which authorities attributed to early evacuation of vulnerable areas.

Ula passed through, causing minor damage.

Early this morning, the slow-moving system was 480 kilometres east north-east of Tanna, one of Vanuatu's islands hardest hit by the massive Cyclone Pam last March.

Tanna, like much of as a result of the current El Nino phenomenon.

Meanwhile, an out of season cyclone has formed between Kiribati and Marshall Islands, in the northern hemisphere.

Cyclone Pali is the earliest ever recorded in the central Pacific Ocean.

It is currently about 1,300 kilometres south of Hawaii.

The Pacific Disaster Centre said while warm ocean temperatures could lead to intensification, wind shear in the area would likely produce weakening.


© ABC 2016

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