22 Feb 2020

Niue hunkers down for Cyclone Vicky; new storm for Samoas

10:59 am on 22 February 2020
The forecast path and intensify of Cyclone Vicky on Saturday morning. It's expected to pass close to Niue.

The forecast path and intensify of Cyclone Vicky on Saturday morning. It's expected to pass close to Niue. Photo: Fiji Meteorological Service

Niue is preparing for the arrival of Cyclone Vicky, which is due to pass close to the island as at least a category two storm on Saturday night (Friday, local time).

The cyclone was about 300km northeast of the island on Saturday morning, with winds gusting as high as 100km/h -- but forecasters warned that it would intensify throughout the day.

Schools in Niue have been closed, and Air New Zealand has cancelled Saturday's flight to the island.

Forecasters say Niue can expect damaging gale force winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms and heavy swells.

It is only three weeks since a large tropical depression caused significant damage to Niue's coastline, including to the island's only wharf.

Samoa and American Samoa

Cyclone Vicky heads south to Niue after blowing past the south of the two Samoas.

Last night, 358 people sought shelter in evacuation centres across American Samoa, with damage reported in Fagatogo, Pago Pago, Tafuna and Leone.

A flooded road in Samoa's Pesega.

A flooded road in Samoa's Pesega. Photo: Supplied

In the village of Onenoa, people were forced to flee when waves washed into their homes.

But after being in the firing line of four tropical depressions this past week, which have caused flooding, landslides and cut power, both Samoa and American Samoa are in the firing line again.

A new tropical depression - 10F - was approaching the region on Saturday, with residents being told to prepare for damaging winds on Saturday night (Friday night in American Samoa).

A tropical storm warning has been issued for American Samoa, while in Samoa, storm warnings have been issued.

A meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Pago Pago, Scott Rozanski, said the winds could be potentially destructive. .

"Really starting to ramp up as we head towards 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock tonight and all the way through Saturday morning we're expecting some pretty gusty winds," he said. "Pretty damaging winds as some of them reach 60 to 65 miles an hour (95 - 105 km/h)."