Samoa Weather Authorities Dismiss Rumored Cyclone

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Public called to prepare for flooding during wet season

By Iliā L. Likou

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 30, 2013) – A year after one of the three most destructive cyclones in the last 100 years, Samoa residents can be forgiven for feeling nervous about another ‘big one.’

But rumours that a cyclone is on the way – with some specifying tomorrow as the day it will hit – are not accurate, according to the Government's weather service.

"There is no cyclone ahead for our country," said Luteru Tauvela, Acting Chief Executive of the Meteorology Division at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

"No strong winds that can be seen are headed towards us, only further south," he said.

"So there is nothing to worry about - everything is great."

At least when it comes to cyclones.

However Mr. Tauvela said there was still cause for caution regarding flooding.

"We are now in the wet season, as we can see some of the heaviest rain can fall in ten minutes and start flooding some parts of the country."

The official warning on the MNRE weather page yesterday read that a, "Heavy rain warning is now in effect for Samoa. Flooding is possible for vulnerable areas."

He also advised the public.

"Even though the weather is not that bad compared to past years but we must prepare every time just like in those warnings that we issue with our weather reports."

"Those who live in low land areas please be advised of flooding that can happen at times of heavy rains."

Another official on duty at the Meteorology division indicated that the rumour must be widespread as they had just received calls from broadcasting stations yesterday morning, "relating to the same issue."

Those rumours may have got started from the regional weather centre in Fiji, which had issued an advisory for a "tropical disturbance".

Yesterday a summary from Fiji read that "global models have picked up the system and are moving it South eastwards with slight intensification.

"Potential for this system to develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 24 to 48 hours is low."

The area the low tropical disturbance is located at is more than 1,000 kilometres to the west of Samoa.

Outside of rumours, Mr. Tauvela reminded people to ‘be prepared’ before cyclones start: Check that the wall and roof of your home are secure; trim treetops and branches well clear of your home; clear your property of loose material that could blow about and possibly cause injury or damage during extreme winds.

In the case of a storm surge/tide warning, or other flooding, know your nearest, safe, high ground and the safest access route to it.

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