Pam was a category 5 tropical cyclone when it hit the Vanuatu islands in the South Pacific, causing devastating damage.
05 May 2023
08 March 2015
The category five storm, with winds of 265km/h (165mph), struck populated areas when it reached Vanuatu early on Saturday. It left a trail of destruction across the island and at least eight people dead.
The MTSAT-2 infrared animation, 9 March 00:32 UTC–15 March 18:32 UTC, shows the cyclone's journey over the six days. On 9/10 March it can be seen as it formed north of 20° S, before making its southward trajectory. During the night of 13/14 March it passed just east of Vanuatu and the eye 'grazed' Port Vila on 13 March 12:32 UTC (13 March 21:32 local time). After hitting Vanuatu the cyclone took an accelerated southward track towards New Zealand, where it dissolved on 15/16 March.
On the MTSAT-2 image from 12 March 21:40 UTC (Figure 1) complex structures of gravity waves and radial banding can be seen around the eye. On the MTSAT-2 image with the ASCAT coastal winds overlaid (Figure 2), sustained southerly winds of at least 30–40kts, or 55–75km/h can be seen, as the cyclone headed towards Vanuatu.