Less rainfall not a worry: meteorologist
The Samoa Meteorology Office has assured residents that dwindling rainfall in recent months is not a precursor to an extreme weather event such as a drought.
Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Afaese Dr. Luteru Tauvale, told the Samoa Observer that the graphs that were recently displayed on their website is based on rainfall data collected in recent months which showed below normal rainfall.
"We noticed that some stations below normal rainfall collected accumulated rainfall is below normal," Afaese told the Samoa Observer.
"So according to the threshold that's within the 'not really significant' but it's around the boundary and we are in conditions that can be identified as drought.
“What is happening is that it is not really a severe situation for us.”
According to Afaese, Samoa is getting less rainfall based on the data they are collecting but the office cannot say it is a drought, until they collect more data and analyse them.
“The only thing that is happening is there is less rainfall. We do our sessions every Friday and every Monday so the information shows we are receiving less rainfall.
"We can’t say it will be a drought because we need to wait a little bit for a few months for October, November to determine what's the rainfall collected.
“If it's severe then we can issue a bulletin of a drought."
Afaese said the situation with the weather is not critical and there is still rain in some areas, but the rainfall collected is below normal.
He said the wet season is around the corner in October towards November and will kick off with some possible rain.
Different weather stations have different average rainfall in various months but Afaese said compared to now, there is a little drop in rainfall but it is not severe.
"Our collection is ongoing, starting from last Thursday when the staff went and collected the data so it's being processed," he said.
"If the data analysis comes and it is a severe situation then something has to be done."
Farmers are not feeling the impact as there is still rain but the MET Office team had discussed situations such as plants drying up which would cause bushfires.
Afaese said that they will get their latest update in the next few weeks based on the data that was collected as they need time to analyse it.
He added that the September to November period is forecasted to have normal rainfall but data is currently being collected to confirm their forecast and they are working together with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) in terms of monitoring.
Afaese said that the last time on record that Samoa experienced drought was in 1997 and 1998.