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Potential cyclone heading Samoa’s way

Saturday 28 November 2015 | Published in Regional

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APIA – The Samoa Meteorological Service said yesterday morning a tropical depression off Samoa is expected to develop into a category one tropical cyclone within the day.

The tropical depression was about 463 kilometres northwest of Asau or 560 kilometres northwest of Apia at 2.00am local time yesterday.

The system was moving east-southeast at 27 kilometres per hour and was slowly intensifying.

It was expected to be 364km west of Apia by 2pm local time yesterday afternoon.

There are reports of people being evacuated from some areas in the capital Apia which are prone to flooding.

The Samoa Meteorological Service spokesperson, Luteru Tauvale, says the national emergency office has been activated.

Tauvale says they are not expecting a direct hit but the wind and rain associated with system will create problems.

“The rain can trigger flooding of all vulnerable areas, for example the rivers, roads and water drainage and all those areas prone to flooding.

“In terms of observations, the amount of rainfall over the 24 hours is well above the threshold of heavy rain. We expect the conditions to worsen in the next few hours.”

The Met Service says a wind advisory remains in effect for all of Samoa.

It also says a heavy rain warning remains in effect for all of Samoa and flooding is likely in vulnerable areas.

A coastal flood advisory remains in effect for low-lying coastal areas.

A warning is also in effect for small crafts and alia fishing boats due to high waves and strong swells.

The US National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm watch for neighbouring American Samoa.

While the system is not expected to pass close to American Samoa – which is to Samoa’s east – the territory is being warned to prepare for strong winds and heavy rain, which could cause flooding and landslides.

Tonga has also issued a warning for the tropical depression.

The Fua’amotu tropical cyclone centre said the depression was about 315 kilometres north of Niuafo’ou at 1.00am local time yesterday, moving east-southeast at 20 kilometres per hour, and slowly intensifying.

- RNZI