Power outages, state of emergency as Kevin hits Vanuatu

The Fiji Meteorology Service says the huge weather system is moving south-east at 24km/h. It says it will be more than 12 hours before it leaves the Vanuatu group of islands.

Its winds are estimated at 165km/h, gusting up to 230km/h.

RNZ Pacific reports on Friday night the Vanuatu Meteorology Service upgraded the tropical cyclone to a category 4 before its power went out.

'Bad timing': Cyclone Harold likely to hit Vanuatu as category 5

Vanuatu is bracing for a direct hit from the still intensifying Cyclone Harold, which is forecast to pass straight over the central islands, forcing the country to contend with dual emergencies.

Harold, a category four storm, was sitting off the country's west and continuing to strengthen on Sunday afternoon.

The system had slowed to a crawl, said Fred Jockley, a forecaster at the Vanuatu Meteorological Service, a worrying development as a slow-moving cyclone allows it to absorb more moisture, thus gaining size and strength.