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Small craft operators in southwest waters warned

The Samoa Meteorology Division has issued an advisory for small craft operators in southwest Samoa, warning of strong current and rough seas brought on by southeast winds.

The caution issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Meteorology Division points to a high pressure system southwest of Samoa which is leading to the forecast of rough weather.

"An intense high pressure system further Southwest from Samoa directs moderate to fresh Southeasterly winds over the country's coastal to open waters,” stated the weather bulletin.

“Fresh winds of 35-45kph impacts southern coastal waters of the islands and is responsible for generating wind driven waves and swells reaching 2-5-3 metres as observed this afternoon from Southern coastal waters."

The small craft advisory remains in effect for the southernmost coastal to open waters of the group.

Potential impacts of this weather event are strong currents as well as rough seas with fresh southeast winds at times.

The next severe weather information will be issued at 5am Tuesday morning.

Latest satellite data shows a cloud band to the southeast of Samoa, associated with a convergence zone that has affected the islands since last Friday evening.

But a moist easterly wind flow now prevails over the group which therefore warrants for the cancellation of the flood advisory and the heavy rain warning.

The Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme [S.P.R.E.P.] has also officially declared La Nina in the Pacific with expected stronger than normal rainfall in the coming months.

It comes amidst heavy downpours in Samoa in recent days, which brought flooding and landslides in some parts of the country, including Fagaloa. 

La Niña is the name given to the phenomenon where the trade winds become stronger, enhancing the warm pool in the western Pacific and causing the sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific to become cooler.

"As a result, Pacific islands in the central Pacific region such as Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu may experience below normal rainfall during this period, while islands in the South-West Pacific will usually experience higher than normal rainfall, such Fiji, Niue,  Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Southern Cook Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu."

La Niña is expected to persist for at least five months.

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