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Direct hit predicted as Tropical Cyclone Amos intensifies on approach to Samoa's capital

Sunday April 24, 2016 - 05:11 EST
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Relief agencies and disaster management officials are preparing for the cyclone. - ABC licensed
ABC licensed image
Cyclone Amos is now forecast to pass directly over or very close to Samoa's capital, Apia. - ABC licensed

Disaster management authorities in Samoa are preparing for the impact of Cyclone Amos, which is predicted to hit the country's main island as a category-four storm on Sunday evening.

"The latest track map and the accompanying warning for the islands of Samoa make for alarming reading for folks battening down," the NaDraki Weather Service said on Facebook.

"This is now an extremely destructive cyclone which poses a threat to life and property."

Samoa's meteorology service said the late season cyclone is currently a category-three system that is moving slowly towards Samoa, having passed north of the French territory, Wallis, overnight.

The bureau issued a tropical cyclone warning, including an advisory of heavy rain and possible flooding on low-lying coastal areas.

The latest track map by the Fiji Meteorological Service places a category-four Cyclone Amos directly over Samoa's Savai'i island at 10:00am Sunday morning (1:00pm Apia time), moving on to the main island of Upolu and the capital, Apia.

Local authorities said preparations had been underway for several days with agencies including water and electricity utilities armed with plans to cope with the storm's aftermath.

Director Mulipola Tainau Titimaea said Samoans were as prepared as they could be.

"People yesterday and also Thursday have been starting to get standby generators and also building material needed for firming their homes and for the supply of goods," he said.

"And I think [because of] the experiences of the past and awareness of the tropical cyclones as well as tsunamis, people are now well aware of the necessary actions to be undertaken at such time."

The NaDraki Weather Service said Amos looks to be increasing to become a very destructive cyclone with average winds of 170 kilometres per hour gusting to 220 kph by the time it passes directly over or very close to Apia.

"The cyclone is feeding off the very warm ocean waters between Wallis island and Samoa, which remain a degree and a half or even 2 degrees warmer than usual right now," it said.

Cyclone Amos comes .

Mr Titimaea said while meteorologists could see indicators of a cyclone forming because of activity in the South Pacific Convergence Zone, such a strong system so late in the cyclone season took them by surprise.

"We thought that Tropical Cyclone [Winston] has taken all the energy out of the region, but when we monitored the situation with the indicators such as El Nino and the sea surface temperature, it seems like there is still some warm pool just north of us," he said.

"This is probably the last of the season."


© ABC 2016

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