Cyclone Harold

Tropical cyclone in Melanesia

Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold was a very powerful tropical cyclone which caused widespread destruction in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga during April 2020. It was first noted as a developing tropical low within a trough of low pressure during April 1, while it was located to the east of Papua New Guinea. Over the next day, the system moved south-eastwards over the Solomon Sea, before it was classified as a tropical cyclone and named Harold by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The system moved into the Fiji Meteorological Service's area of responsibility on April 2 and began to explosively intensify by April 3, reaching Category 4 status by April 4 on both scales. The next day, it further strengthened into a Category 5 severe tropical cyclone, the highest rating on the Australian scale. It made landfall on Espiritu Santo on April 6. Shortly afterwards, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) upgraded it to a Category 5-equivalent cyclone on the Saffir–Simpson scale. It maintained this status for only six hours before being downgraded back to Category 4.

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