The acting director of the meteorological department in Vanuatu says Tropical Cyclone Pam has the potential to become the strongest storm ever experienced in the country.
David Gibson says Port Vila on the Island of Efate and the Southern part of Vanuatu are expected to face severe and damaging winds on Friday afternoon.
All ships have been grounded throughout the country and community leaders are warning everyone to be ready to move to safe evacuation centres.
Mr Gibson says the category three cyclone is expected to intensify.
"Based on the forecast the intensity will reach Cat 5. That's the forecast but there is a lot of consistency in the forecast getting the intensity to reach category five. This is the first time that Vanuatu would experience such a cyclone if it reaches category five. In 1987 Tropical Cyclone Uma was category three and then four as it moved."