13 Dec 2012

Samoa's disaster advisory committee to meet as tropical cyclone nears

6:40 am on 13 December 2012

Samoa's disaster advisory committee are to meet this morning as a tropical cyclone nears the country.

The New Zealand Metservice says tropical cyclone Evan as of midnight was over 100 kilometres west of Apia.

It says the category two cyclone is moving east at 13 knots.

The lead forecaster at the Samoa Metservice, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea, says they are now starting to feel the effects of the cyclone.

"We have experienced in exposed areas strong gale force winds but it is gusting up to, on the highlands, about 50 knots to 60 knots in some areas. The disaster advisory committee will be meeting this morning and hopefully we can activate disaster management procedures."

The lead forecaster at the Samoa Metservice, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea.

Reports also say power is off in many villages, and trees are also down and some parts of the country are flooded after heavy rain overnight.

Meanwhile in American Samoa all public and private schools have been cancelled for today because of Cyclone Evan.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says there is a lot of concern in the community about the cyclone.

And our radio station has been bombarded with calls about how far the hurricane is from here and whether we will be hit. Now the latest forecast that has been put out by the National weather service says that we should be feeling some strong winds gusts of between 30 to 40 knots, so they are asking people to just prepare and also be aware there will be a lot of rain and also to avoid being in areas where there will be flooding.

Monica Miller says government offices will close at midday today, and all employees have been told to secure their offices before going home.

She says the Territorial Christmas Programme that was supposed to open tonight has now been cancelled.

She also adds Polynesian Airlines and Inter Island Air have cancelled their inter island flights.

However, the weekly trip of the Samoa ferry, Lady Naomi, is still arriving this morning.