Damaging winds topple temporary office

By Soli Wilson 18 January 2020, 9:20PM

One of the Shanghai Construction company's two disused temporary offices at Tuanaimato was smashed on Saturday as strong winds buffeted Samoa. 

Wind gusts of up to 50 kilometres per hour were recorded on Saturday. 

The strong gusts were triggered by a weather system feeding Tropical Cyclone Tino's advance towards Tonga on Saturday.

The flattened structure at Tuana'imato was adjacent to the new multipurpose gymnasium. 

The office was blown down and into the gates surrounding the gym before its remains were scattered across the road  as pieces flew across the road into the Samoa Rugby Union's gate, witnesses said. 

The temporary office had been used during the construction of the multipurpose gym.

By the time the Samoa Observer arrived at the scene, the debris from the incident was already being cleaned up. 

A Shanghai Construction representative at the site said if it was not for shelter provided by the softball stadium next to company's second temporary office, both structures would have been blown down.

Tropical Cyclone Tino was upgraded to a severe category 3 storm on Saturday afternoon. 

Power lines and power poles also fell amid strong wind gusts on Saturday afternoon as weather conditions intensified.

By 5pm on Saturday the cyclone remained to the west of Tonga or about 736 kilometres southwest of Apia, the Samoa Meteorological Office reported.

The cyclone is not forecast to reach Samoa. The latest meteorological projections, released late on Saturday, showed the cyclone moving away from Samoa. 

But the storm, which lashed Fiji on Friday, picked up its speed from 18 knots to 20 knots as it moved southeastward toward Tonga, where it was expected to reach land overnight. 

"Windy and wet weather [conditions] will continue to persist over the [Samoa] for the rest of tonight due to an active convergence zone, [which is] a feeding band of Tropical cyclone Tino," the MET Office's update said. 

"These conditions will persist through at least Tuesday next week."

The Samoa Meteorological Service has weather warnings in force for wind, heavy rain, possible landslides, coastal flooding and small crafts and alia fishing boats.

By Soli Wilson 18 January 2020, 9:20PM

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