Tropical Cyclone Zazu can intensify: Meteorology Division

By Marc Membrere 15 December 2020, 12:00AM

Tropical Cyclone Zazu is currently Category 1 but has the potential to intensify into a Category 2 as it moves southeast, says the Samoa Meteorology Division.

The Meteorology Division’s Principal Scientific Officer, Silipa Mulitalo, told the Samoa Observer on Tuesday T.C. Zazu is currently moving away and remains on its current predicted path based on the outlook and forecast track provided by Fiji’s Meteorological Services.

However T.C. Zazu may intensify into a Category 2 with the system now outside Samoa’s area and is now an immediate concern for Tonga as it nears its northern group.

Mr. Mulitalo further explained that the cyclone’s circulation is quite broad hence its impact on Samoa’s weather and is currently driving a northerly flow over Samoa as well as thunderstorms, heavy rainfall and associated hazards.

He added that the potential for flooding is still quite high and as well as landslides.

According to Mr. Mulitalo, the system is continuing on its current path as predicted but based on computer models, conditions could ease by Thursday, which could see rainfall intensity dropping. 

The weather would improve towards the weekend according to the Meteorology Division’s forecast.

Explaining the warnings and advisories that have been issued, he said they could be extending them for the next 12–24 hours as they continue to monitor the system.

T.C. Yasa has been upgraded to Category 3 and is a concern for Fiji towards Thursday and Friday and then Tonga at the weekend, added Mr. Mulitalo with the potential to intensify further.

"But this may not have an impact on our weather for the coming days but our focus now is on [Tropical Cyclone] Zazu which is currently at Category 1," he said.

Asked about the possibility of T.C. Zazu coming back towards Samoa, he said the risks are currently low at this stage.

He said based on the model consensus, they have confidence that the system will continue on its southeast path with the potential to affect Niue Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Mr. Mulitalo also stated there has been a lot of flooding recently, particularly in the last month and on Monday due to the significant amount of rainfall. 

He further explained that there are more activities moving in from the north such as thunderstorms and more rainfall is expected to fall over saturated soil which will become problematic for water catchment areas.

By Marc Membrere 15 December 2020, 12:00AM

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