Winds of up to 200km/h and heavy rain lashed people in New Caledonia this evening as Cyclone Cook made landfall.
Reuters reported the category three cyclone hit the main island at almost the same time as high tide, bringing down coconut trees, blocking roads and forcing residents to seek shelter indoors.
"Right now we are in the eye of the storm, it is calm, but before the wind was strong and the rain was heavy," David Sigal told Reuters as he sheltered in the town hall of Poindimie, about 50km north of where the storm hit land.
Floods and waves as tall as 10m were also forecast by weather authorities.
Authorities widened their cyclone alert early on, warning residents nearly everywhere in the archipelago to seek shelter before evening and they also opened shelters.
Meteo New Caledonia forecaster Virgil Cavarero told Reuters the category three cyclone had been predicted to hit as a category four, which would have been even more devastating.
The storm is moving quickly and, on Tuesday evening, it is expected to be 370km southeast of Noumea.
It is forecast to weaken slightly over the next 24 hours.
Heavy rain, gales and high seas around New Caledonia will gradually ease tomorrow as it moves away.
Full extent of damage in Vanuatu not yet clear
Meanwhile, Oxfam said flooding from Cyclone Cook has wiped out whole food gardens in low lying areas of Port Vila in Vanuatu.
Osfam's director in Vanuatu, Lisa Faerua, said crops such as bananas and cassava were damaged, and food gardens were completely washed away.
She said it was still not clear how the outer areas fared.
Ms Faerua said the loss of crops would be a major blow to people who were still recovering from the devastation brought by Cyclone Pam two years ago.