This will be a storm to watch while praying for the people of New Caledonia. The storm is forecast to transform from a tropical storm to the equivalent of a US Category 4 Cyclone. All this while staying within a 300 mile long area. That is less the distance from New Orleans, Louisiana to Lake City, Florida. The population of New Caledonia is only 278,000 according a 2016 census.
I have set in motion my recorders for weather conditions in several locations in New Calidonia: the capital city of Noumea - on the southern portion of the island and Koumac - located in the northern part of the island. Two additional recorders on the island of Vanatu have be started. The first is in Luganville in the southern region and second is Port Orly to the northern region.
I've located a news source in New Zealand reporting on the storm. WeatherWatch.co.nz is reporting a projection of a Category 1 storm in less than 24 hours. After it passes over Vanuatu and over the warm waters, "Over these 48 hours the storm could deepen significantly with air pressure estimated to drop from 993hPa at noon Thursday to 962hPa by midnight Friday." This will encourage aggressive growth of the storm.
The thinking is that it will zip out to sea passing between New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Even then, there should be considerable swells and rip currents in the area.
Stay tuned to Weather.JaysCafe.net for upcoming news on the South Pacific Storm.