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Cyclone developing

Saturday 31 January 2015 | Written by Supplied | Published in Regional

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SUVA – The Fiji Met Service says a tropical depression near New Caledonia was likely to have developed into a cyclone by today – while torrential rain from a separate weather system has caused surface flooding in Samoa.

It said “Depression 09F” is about 200 kilometres west, north west of Surprise Island, with average sustained winds of about 55 kilometres per hour, gusting to over 80 kilometres an hour.

It said it would have turned into a cyclone by midday yesterday.

Meanwhile it says the disturbance near Samoa has weakened, and is not expected to develop into a cyclone.

Samoa is continuing to experience heavy rain, with some low lying areas around Apia flooded. Rivers are over their banks and families living nearby have been warned to move to higher ground.

And in American Samoa over four inches of rain fell overnight with the national weather service continuing a flash flood watch for Tutuila and Aunuu and a warning for Manu’a.

Meteorologist Elinor Lutu McMoore says people should prepare for continued heavy rainfall and gusty winds today.

“What’s affecting us in terms of the showers and the winds is really this active monsoon trough that’s sitting stationary over the Samoan islands.”

McMoore says the monsoonal trough lying over the Samoa group is expected to gradually move away by later today.