21 Jan 2011

Tropical depression sparks weather warnings in Samoa

8:01 am on 21 January 2011

A tropical depression is being closely monitored by Fiji's Metservice over the next 24 to 48 hours to see if it will develop into a cyclone and affect Samoa, Tonga and Fiji this weekend.

On duty weather forecaster at the Fiji Metservice, Stephen Meke, says the depression is moving at 5 knots and currently it is located south west of Samoa.

He says islands in the vicinity of the depression will be starting to feel its effects, and more so if it develops further.

"Samoa will experience some gale force winds and the centre would be close to Samoa and Fiji would also be experiencing strong winds and if it intensifies further then definitely they'd be gale force winds experienced in Tonga and Fiji."

Samoa's weather office is beginning to issue special weather bulletins warning people about the tropical depression.

It says there is a moderate chance it could develop into a tropical cyclone within the next 18 to 36 hours and it is expected to move southeast between Tonga and Samoa.

A gale watch is now effect for Samoa and all mariners and fishing boats are advised of rough seas and developing northwesterly swells.

Flood advice has also been issued for river banks, drainages roads and low lying areas vulnerable to floods due to occasional rain.

An office in Apia has reported that heavy rain last night has caused some minor flooding.