Low pressure systems, tropical depression impact weather

By Vaelei Von Dincklage 16 February 2020, 7:45PM

A series of low pressure systems and tropical depression northwest of Samoa continues to impact the country, resulting in heavy rain and winds for both Upolu and Savai’i.

The bad weather had also led to the cancellation of ferry services between Upolu and Savai’i, with the Samoa Meteorology Service forecasting that the potential of the tropical depression developing into a tropical cyclone within the next two days, is 'low to moderate'.

In an update published on its website at 6pm on Sunday, the Samoa Meteorology Service has advised that a Tropical Disturbance (TD07F) within the vicinity of Tuvalu, and a low pressure system northwest of Savai’i are expected to track southeast to the south of the island and will continue to trigger rain and wind. 

“These two systems are expected to track southeast to the south of the island with slight development,” states the weather update. “The low pressure system near Savaii will bring heavy rain and gusty wind conditions for tonight and tomorrow (Monday).”

The Meteorology Service expects the TD07F to move southeast towards the island Monday evening and warns that there is a low to moderate chance it could develop into a tropical cyclone.

“However, TD07F is still forecast to move southeast towards the island by tomorrow evening and is highly likely to develop into a tropical depression within the next 24-48 hours with low to moderate potential to develop into a tropical cyclone.”

Heavy rain with strong and gusty wind has been forecasted for tonight until Wednesday with rough seas and high swells. 

A Meteorology Service spokesperson said strong wind warnings remain in effect for Savai’i and all of Upolu, on top of heavy rain and flood advisories for all major rivers and vulnerable areas.

There have been unconfirmed reports of the cancellation of ferry services between Upolu and Savai’i on Sunday due to the bad weather, but Samoa Observer has been unable to verify the report with the Samoa Shipping Corporation.

Savai’i resident Tausivaatele Peter told the Samoa Observer that the Lady Naomi cancelled its ferry service at 11am on Sunday. 

“The Lady Naomi had one trip around 11am this morning and it has returned but there is no traffic around and no buses as usual for the ferries on Sunday here at Salelologa,” he said.

According to Mr Peter, a long serving crew member on the SSC Fasefulu advised that they will be in port until Tuesday. 

“Lady Naomi was on her way to Mulifanua when I was at the Salelologa wharf and the other five ferries are tied down tight with double ropes,” he said.

Mr Peter said using ‘double ropes’ to secure the ferries is a sign that the shipping staff anticipate the tropical depression turning into a tropical cyclone in the next 10 hours.

“Don’t get carried away with windy conditions but look further ahead and always be prepared,” he added.

By Vaelei Von Dincklage 16 February 2020, 7:45PM

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