January 23, 2019

Tropical storm hits American Samoa with outages, some damage

12 February 2018, 08:57 | Devin Moran

The forecast trajectory of cyclone Gita

The forecast trajectory of cyclone Gita

The cyclone is the strongest in recorded history to approach Tonga this evening.

Residents in Tonga are bracing themselves for the impending category 4-strength Cyclone Gita. "We expect around midnight for it to be the closest to the main island and when the winds will be strongest".

"Category 5 means that the winds have reached 110 knots".

Fiji Met will update their forecast later today.

"If you're just a little bit away from the centre, that's where the strongest winds are", Malivuk said.

Gita was starting to form an eye.

The storm pummeled Samoa and American Samoa over the weekend, flooding the Samoan capital, Apia.

Gita will bring damaging winds, flooding rain and storm surge inundation to Tonga.

For Tongatapu, 'Eua and Ha'apai, winds were expected to get to 150kmh, with momentary gusts of 185kmh.

For Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa and Southern Lau - expect strong winds and winds may increase to damaging gale force from late tonight to early tomorrow and further increase to destructive hurricane force winds of upto 230 kilometres per hour.

The outbreak was declared following the death of 12-year-old New Zealand girl Toafei Telefoni, who died at a local hospital after contracting the disease while visiting the country.

The Fiji Weather Office says people need to take precautionary measures now as Tropical Cyclone Gita will become a Category 5 system with destructive winds when it enters the Fiji waters.

The Metservice also warned of huge coastal swells and flooding of low-lying areas.

MetService's Malivuk said most forecast models were suggesting Gita would curve to the southeast, moving over the North Island of New Zealand in the middle of next week.

Brown floodwaters gush into house in Apia, Samoa.

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