Forecasters expect that Pam, the strongest of the three storms, will have a major effect on Vanuatu. With sustained winds of 155 miles (250 kilometers) per hour and gusts up to 190 miles (300 kilometers), Pam was already the equivalent of a Category 5 storm on March 12. As Pam moves toward Vanuata, the storm will push through an area with relatively weak upper level winds and unusually warm water, so it should continue to strengthen. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Pam’s peak intensity will likely coincide with its closest pass to the island Efate, which is home to Vanuatu’s capital city, Port Vila.
Meteorologists expect that the storm farthest west—Category 2 Olwyn—will make landfall in Western Australia along the Pilbara coast. On the other side of Australia, Nathan is forecast to approach the coast but then loop back out to sea before passing over land. Like Olwyn, most tropical cyclones affecting Australia make landfall along the northwest coastline between Broome and Exmouth. On average, about five tropical cyclones develop over the warm waters off northwestern Australia each cyclone season. About two of these hit the coast each year, one of which is severe.