Cloud formation brings freak rain

By Talaia Mika 03 April 2024, 6:00PM

A 7.5 earthquake in Taiwan which was felt in Samoa, and an unexpected extreme cloud formation called the Cumulonimbus associated with extreme weather impacts hit Samoa on Wednesday causing heavy rain and closure of schools.

After a sunny and fine sunny morning, an unexpected Cumulonimbus cloud which brings strong thunderstorms and heavy rainfall struck in the afternoon around the same time the earthquake shook Taiwan.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Assistant Chief Executive Officer for the Samoa Meteorology Office, Afaese Luteru Tauvale said although this is normal, the country still needs to be wary of flooding and other impacts of extreme weather.

"It should be clear by tomorrow but for the long term, it's a passing event which also will not take long to be cleared," he said.

"This all happened because of the type of cloud that hit Samoa which is called the Cb cloud and with this cloud, no matter how sunny and clear the sky is, when this cloud strikes, it will strike like this like today."

People in affected areas saw a series of flashes of lightning followed by thunder which were very loud.

Meanwhile, the Meteorology Office issued a heavy rain warning at noon on Wednesday enforced for all land areas.

"Flood advisory is now in force for all major rivers and low-lying vulnerable areas for 2023-2024," stated the warning. 

In the latest tropical Cyclone outlook, elevated risks for Samoa with expected two to three named Tropical Cyclones likely to form in or pass through the 400km radius of Samoa this tropical cyclone season.

One tropical cyclone may reach Category 3 or greater intensity. The cyclone risk for Samoa this season compared to all tropical cyclone seasons is “Normal to Above Normal”

"The current El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) status is El Nino, with global climate models predicting this status is likely to remain through to early 2024," reads the cyclone outlook for Samoa.

"Rainfall outlook is most likely to be Below normal for Samoa in the upcoming season f) Warmer than normal air temperatures for the next six months are expected.

"High potential for drought-like conditions and bushfires in drought-prone areas 2. Climate Outlook for November 2023 to April 2024 Samoa is likely to continue experiencing El Nino conditions from November 2023 to April 2024, which is expected to result in below-normal rainfall and an increased likelihood of tropical cyclones. 

"The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently in the El Nino phase, with warming Pacific Sea Surface temperatures and a corresponding increase in equatorial Sub-Sea Surface Temperatures."

The TC season extends from November to April with peak TC activity normally may be experienced from January to March.

While the impacts of El Nino vary across different countries, Samoa is likely to experience less rainfall and more tropical cyclones compared to previous years.

Meanwhile, the extreme weather prompted the Ministry of Education to force closure upon all schools following an advice they issued in the afternoon for all principals and schools to take heed of.

By Talaia Mika 03 April 2024, 6:00PM
Samoa Observer

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