12 Dec 2012

Tropical depression threatens Wallis and Samoa

8:22 am on 12 December 2012

A tropical depression near Fiji looks likely to turn into the first cyclone of the season.

The depression is close to Fiji's north-east, where it is causing heavy rain in Vanua Levu, Taveuni and northern Lau.

A strong wind warning remains in force for Kadavu and Vatu-i-Ra passages, Koro Sea, Southern Lau Waters and is now in force for Northern Vanua Levu and Northern Lau waters.

The New Zealand metservice says the depression has started moving east, and indications are that it will continue moving over Wallis and Futuna and towards Samoa.

It says the depression has a high potential to become a tropical cyclone and should impact Samoa in the next 18 to 36 hours.

Meanwhile, American Samoa's Meteorologist Mase Akapo Akapo at the National Weather Service in Tafuna has been monitoring the weather system.

"As it moves closer to us tomorrow evening it will stall probably near Upolu, all of our computerised models says it's going to stall maybe for about six to 12 hours so as the system stalls over us it will continue to intensify, there for it will give us storm force winds about 50 to 70 miles an hour."

Mase is urging residents to begin making preparations as the system is a fast moving system.

Mase says residents should not wait but start taking precautions now to secure their properties and to protect their families.