Tropical Cyclone Amos is predicted to be stronger than Cyclone Evan in 2012.
That’s the latest word from the Samoa Meteorology Office as they continue to monitor the development of the cyclone, with the country hunkering down and praying for the best.
“Cyclone Evan was a Category 2 but this one is stronger,” the Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Meteorology Office at Mulinu’u, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea, told the Sunday Samoan.
“We are expecting a category 3 if it arrives here but there are also predictions that it could reach a category 4 stage near Samoa.”
To give you some perspective, Cyclone Winston, which devastated Fiji earlier this year was a Category 5.
A category 4 cyclone comes with very destructive winds that can be as strong as 279kms an hour.
“At the moment, looking at speed with which it’s coming in, we should be experiencing the intense winds by tonight (last night) around 11pm,” said Mulipola.
“It will continue going on to Sunday probably by evening tomorrow it will move away from us.”
In 2012, Cyclone Evan made landfall causing widespread damage across the country bringing heavy rainfall, flash floods and maximum sustained winds up to 166.7kilometers per hour.
The impact was severe with several deaths and leaving hundreds displaced especially in the areas of Lelata, Magiagi and Leone to name a few.
Yesterday, Mulipola emphasised that it’s important for people to be prepared and not to panic.
“In terms of flooding it brings a lot of rain in low lying areas especially coastal storm surge,” he added.
As of yesterday afternoon, no flights were cancelled at the Faleolo international airport.
At that time, a wind advisory, flood advisory, advisory for fishing alias and small crafts had been issued.
According to the special weather bulletin report 7, Amos was located at about 376 km (203nm) West of Asau or 473 km (256nm) West of Apia at 04:00am yesterday.
The system is now slowly moving East at 7mph.
It is expected to relocate at about 296 km (160 nm) West of Asau or 394 km (216nm) West of Apia by 1.00 pm in the afternoon based on its current forecast track.
For today, periods of rain, heavy at times and thunderstorms are expected.
Expect Northeast to Northwest winds of 45-55 mph and possibly increase up to 72 mph at times.
There will be storm surge of 14-16 feet and developing to 15-18 feet and seas very rough and storm surge of 18-20 feet affect open seas.
Potential Impact would be river overflows, slippery road, poor visibility, flooding, landslide and flying objects.
American Samoa prepares for Amos
All public schools and some private schools in American Samoa are closed because of Amos, Radio New Zealand reported.
Yesterday, the National Weather Service in Pago Pago placed the territory under a storm watch and issued a high surf warning.
Fili Sagapolutele says officials have told locals to start preparing for Amos.
"Making sure you have enough water, you have supplies, food, making sure if you are in flood prone area, prepare to move as soon as warnings are issued and there's major changes," she said.
"Also on the shoreline, due to the fact we are looking at high surfs due to start this afternoon, they are asking people who live along the shoreline to be mindful of this situation and to prepare to move as soon as those high surfs start hitting the territory."
"Because it's suppose to start this afternoon, we are looking surfs of 14 to 16 feet this afternoon and 18 to 22 feet tomorrow night into Sunday morning."