Weekend flood, landslide warnings in place
Bad weather will persist throughout the weekend, the Meteorological Service is forecasting, with heavy rainfall expected to continue lashing Samoa and give rise to flooding and landslide risks.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer on Friday morning, the head of the Meteorological Service, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea, said Cyclone Tino, currently impacting upon Fiji and approaching Tonga on Saturday would not land in Samoa. But side effects from the weather system, such as heavy wind and rain would doubtless make their mark, Mulipola warned.
“We are not in the pathway of TC Tino but we are experiencing heavy rainfall that can result in flooding,” he said.
“This pattern is expected to continue towards the weekend as more rain is on the way."
Recent heavy rain resulted in three peaks of high run off and rapid discharge from the Vaisigano River yesterday, according to the Met Office.
Rainfall doubled the weather service's advisory threshold on Thursday, reaching 144 millimetres in Mount Le Pue, with lower levels like 115.6 in Afiamalu. (The threshold for a formal advisory to be issued is 70mm of rain).
That increased rainfall is expected to increase the strain on the nation's waterways and potentially result in their spilling over.
The Vaisigano River has seen three major peaks of high water runoff and rapid discharge in the past 24 hours, as measured at its Alaoa and Lelata stations.
Samoa Meteorological Service (S.M.S.) observations taken on Friday show the river’s level reaching 1.4 metres around 8am, up from 1.3 metres the night before.
The Meteorological Service is warning other rivers are likely experiencing similarly high runoff and rapid discharge.
“The response of Vaisigano will be similar to other major rivers around both Upolu and Savai'i. Please take sensible precautions at vulnerable areas to flooding," Mulipola said.
The S.M.S. had issued formal advisories for severe wind gusts, heavy rain and possible landslides and floods in low-lying and vulnerable areas.
“The heavy rain advisory is now upgraded into a heavy rain warning, due to following rain bands approaching Samoa," Mulipola said.
“[Its] potential impacts [include]: heavy downpours with poor visibility, fresh and gusty winds, foggy and slippery roads over mountain passes and ranges, pooling near roadsides and waterways [and] strong currents as well as rough seas.”
The tropical depression weather front behind Cyclone Tino is slowly moving towards Apia and is expected to bring renewed rainfall.
“Tropical Depression TD04F was located about 1269km to the west of Apia at 2.00am Friday morning and is slowly moving southeast.”
Small crafts and alia boats have also been warned to stay out of the waters due to high swells and strong winds.
“The swell observations this morning shows swell heights remains above the advisory threshold. Theses heavy swells are from TD04F and will slowly developing and may reach four metres or above throughout the weekend.