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Cyclone Judy strengthens to category 3 with destructive winds

There are dramatic scenes in Vanuatu as the destructive hurricane force winds of Tropical Cyclone Judy rip through, cutting power and uprooting trees.

Judy is currently a category three storm but New Zealand's Metservice said it was forecast to intensify to category four later on Tuesday.

A journalist in Vanuatu, Dan McGarry, is in Port Vila and told RNZ Pacific everyone in the city is hunkering down.

"The weather has become quite dramatic, and it is unsafe to be outside. It's very noisy and very dangerous. A red alert is the highest level of warning that our meteorological service offers. It's basically an instruction, an order, to go home and seek shelter."

Damaging gale force winds and flooding are also expected.

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