Met Office meetings prepare for cyclone season

The Samoa Meteorological Service is preparing for the cyclone season with a regional meeting of more than 130 meteorologists and scientists.

Representing the Met Service, a Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment [M.N.R.E.], at the two-day virtual gathering is Principal Scientific Officer Silipa Mulitalo.

In response to inquiries from the Samoa Observer, Mulitalo said there was a lot to gain from the 7th Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum [PICOF-7].

“These regional meetings [involve] sharing experiences and expertise with other member states and operational meteorologists on the climate outlook for the next six months,” he said.

“We will be deliberating on the observed and expected atmospheric and ocean conditions which will provide essential information for Samoa to prepare for in the upcoming Tropical Cyclone season.”

Samoa and the Pacific can expect between eight to 10 tropical cyclones this wet season, according to the Tropical Cyclone Outlook published by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research [N.I.W.A.] on Tuesday, 20 October this year.

One to two cyclones have been predicted for Samoa.

Mulitalo said N.I.W.A. and other regional Tropical Cyclone Centres play a key role in the region.

“But it is important to note that this vital information is used as guidance by member states which include Samoa,” Mulitalo said. 

“We will provide an official Tropical Cyclone Outlook incorporating key points of discussions of this week’s meeting.”

With the 2020 cyclone season upon us, Silipa says it is very important to understand the weather and risks of every tropical cyclone because they are all different. 

“[People must] be sure to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and warnings from the Samoa Meteorological Service and follow advice from our local emergency services DMO on what to do before, during and after a Cyclone,” Silipa said. 

Some 40 journalists from across the Pacific are covering PICOF-7 in preparation to report on severe weather events and cyclones this season. 

The journalists are taking part in a four-day virtual workshop: ‘Reaching Pacific Audiences During the Cyclone’.

It has been facilitated by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme [P.A.C.M.A.S.] in partnership with the Secretariat Regional Environment Programme [S.P.R.E.P.] in Apia and Melbourne-based ABC International Development.

The journalist’s workshop started on Tuesday and ends on Friday, the same day that PICOF-7 concludes. 

The broader objective of PICOF-7 is to produce consensus-based, user-relevant climate outlook guidance to reduce climate-related risks.

Participating nations include Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Palau, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tokelau and New Zealand.

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