On Thursday, March 8, 2018, crew members on the P&O cruise ship Pacific Explorer were left scrambling after they were caught off guard by Cyclone Hola (see video below) in the South Pacific.
P&O is just one of many tourism operators in the South Pacific caught off guard by the rapid intensification of a cyclone in the South Pacific. Voyager of the Seas was due in New Caledonia on Thursday and Explorer of the Seas was due in the port on Friday.
Hola intensified to category 4 strength early on Thursday, after crossing over Vanuatu, and was moving west southwest. It was intensifying and, after changing direction, was expected to pass between Vanuatu and New Caledonia on Friday. It was possible it could grow to a category 5 cyclone.
About 8pm New Zealand time the category 4 storm was about 315 km west of Efate, the small island home to Vanuatu’s capital city Port Vila, according to the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department.
Winds close to the centre of the storm were estimated to be about 165 kmh while damaging gale force winds were expected to hit the bottom half of the island nation – the Shefa and Tafea provinces – overnight and tomorrow
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Video:Cyclone Hola now Severe Category 4 March 8, 2018