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Tropical cyclone Judy strengthens to category two in Pacific

Tropical cyclone Judy, a category two cyclone, is bearing down on Vanuatu and warnings remain in place.

On Tuesday morning, Vanuatu Meteorological Service (VMS) said the system was 175km from Vanua Lava, northern Vanuatu.

VMS forecaster Iuma Bani said the system was set to become a category three storm later Tuesday.

It was moving slowly, Bani said.

"We're not expecting the system to be here in Vila tonight, maybe tomorrow, sometime tomorrow morning because it is moving quite slowly," he said.

"Once it starts moving south, then it will start to speed up a little bit."

Damaging gale force winds of 63km/h to 87km/h are expected to affect the provinces of Torba, Penama, Sanma, and Malampa on Tuesday.

Bain said Red Alerts have been issued for the northern provinces of Penama, Torba and Sanma.

"People in low lying areas need to find higher ground in terms of flooding and coastal inundation. Also we have advised for the community to move to their evacuation centres if necessary to look after the elderly and people with disabilities," Bani said.

VMS said heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms were expected over the northern provinces of Vanuatu with flash flooding expected in low-lying areas close to the riverbanks, including coastal flooding on Tuesday.

Seas will become rough to very rough with heavy swells expected over the northern and central waters of Vanuatu today. A high seas warning is current for open waters to the north of Vanuatu.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's NIWA said the system was expected to move past Aotearoa without affecting their weather.