Wild weather forecast closes schools

By Soli Wilson 17 February 2020, 7:30PM

Schools around Samoa will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the threat of wild weather, the Ministry of Education announced. 

The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) made the school closure announcement late on Monday afternoon. 

The decision follows the Samoa Meteorology Division issuing advice of heavy rain and wind relating to a low pressure system converging upon Samoa. 

The school closure notice is in force through Tuesday and Wednesday and is subject to further notice. 

The Ministry said children should be kept indoors so long as the weather warnings remained in force

Since the early hours of Monday, heavy rain has flooded much of town, delayed Samoa Airways flights and cancelled inter-island ferry services.

Schools were also closed early on Monday as the downpour continued into the afternoon. 

Marist Brothers Primary School at Mulivai notified parents to pick up their sons at about noon. 

The National University of Samoa has also circulated a notice on social media, informing students that the Vice Chancellor and President has approved the cancellation of all remaining classes for Monday.

"Hoping you all stay safe during these times," the university said in its statement. 

The Deputy Principal of St Mary's Primary School at Savalalo, Viviann Vaoliko, said flooding continues to be a threat to their classes as continuous rain can result in water levels reaching the classroom overnight. 

“Parents and students are well aware of the conditions when raining however it is not a safe environment for the students when the weather is bad,” she said. "We are not planning on relocating the school, however, we have plans to lift the building and renovations and additional costs to repairing school furniture and teaching materials.”

She said with the approaching cyclone a decision will be made on the continuation of classes as safety is paramount for both staff and students.

"If the weather does not change then we will be forced to close down, this will not only affect the students education but also the teachers. It is all about meeting standards and if we do not meet the criteria then our reputation will be degraded,” she added.

In town, a rough and dirty flood could be seen from Apia City Boulevard and pedestrians braved strong wind gusts.

By 5pm on Monday afternoon, flooding around Fugalei reached knee height; traffic was backed up with vehicles struggling to navigate the inundation. 

Samoa is expected to experience heavy downpour, poor visibility, strong and gusty winds with flying objects, foggy and slippery roads over mountain passes in coming days. 

Extra reporting by Maggie Kelekolio.

By Soli Wilson 17 February 2020, 7:30PM

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