STC Harold southeast of Tonga

Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold, which has already ravaged Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands is southeast of Tonga as of midday on Friday, the Samoa Meteorological Service reports.

Its presence means fresh heavy winds over the area, resulting in swells of 2.5 to 3.5 metres southwest of Upolu. 

There remains a small craft advisory. 

There is also a weather system gathering above Samoa and is expected to produce widely scattered showers today and later tonight.

The Met Service warns to expect gusty winds and thunderstorms for some parts of Samoa, and a heavy rain advisory remains in place.

Take care to avoid pools gathering at roadsides and near waterways. There may be heavy downpours and poor visibility for driving.

The next bulletin will be at 5pm. For immediate updates, follow the Samoa Meteorological Service on Facebook. 

Vanuatu has lost power and the water supply is damaged. Majority of homes are damaged, ranging from flattened completely to broken down. Seven of its 83 islands have been the worst affected.

Fiji has experienced flooding across its man island, Viti Levu, and roofs ripped off buildings

Unlike Vanuatu, Fiji has 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe.

There are concerns the social distancing and lockdown measures in place to stop the disease spreading may be strained by the more immediate impacts of the cyclone.

The Solomon Islands lost lives when 27 people were swept off a ferry as Cyclone Harold bore down as a category two storm. At least five bodies of the deceased have been retrieved. 

Much of the island’s plains are underwater from the storm’s torrential downpour leading to significant crop damage.

With wire reports. 

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