Cook Islands Meteorological Services director Arona Ngari said the cyclone which was elevated to category four yesterday, is expected to turn southwards.
According to reports, Donna made landfall with wind gusts of up to 205 kilometres per hour, downing houses, churches and trees in the north of Vanuatu.
Ngari said the projection path of the cyclone indicate it “will not affect the Cook Islands”.
A weather bulletin from the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) for tropical cyclones in Fiji yesterday said the cyclone was moving slowly in the west southwest direction.
If it remains strong in its track, the cyclone may affect parts of New Caledonia this weekend.
A Radio New Zealand report on midday yesterday said TC Donna did major destruction in Vanuatu’s northern Torba province on Thursday night.
“In Torba, people on Banks and Torres islands were sheltering in caves and evacuation centres,” the report added.
“A curfew was imposed in the province yesterday (Thursday), where about 10,000 people live, as authorities warned of destructive winds, torrential rain and very rough seas.”
The cyclone was reportedly forecast to move down the country towards the main islands of Santo and Efate.
“But it has since been tracking towards open ocean in the west and was forecast to make a turn south, possibly back towards southern Vanuatu or New Caledonia this weekend,” a Radio New Zealand report said.
The last major tropical storm to hit Vanuatu was Cyclone Pam in March 2015, causing extensive damage.
The category five cyclone affected about 70 per cent of the population and 66,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Meanwhile, a trough of low pressure lies to the south of southern Cooks which will bring with it associated cloud and showers.
A trough of low pressure lies slow-moving over northern Cooks.
Cloudy weather with some showers and thunderstorms are expected over Rarotonga this weekend.