Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Tropical storm hits American Samoa with outages, some damage

Tropical storm hits American Samoa with outages, some damage

A state of emergency was declared today, although Afeaki told Te Kāea that it's cyclone season and there wasn't a great sense of panic.

Gita could be the closest a tropical cyclone of that intensity has moved in relation to the Tongan capital during that roughly 27-28 year period.

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

Some damage to buildings and wide-spread power outages were reported on American Samoa early Saturday, a day after tropical storm Gita passed near the US territory in the South Pacific. Many models are predicting it would hit New Zealand, but not until the middle of next week.

Gita is now taking aim on Tonga where it's forecast to be equivalent to the strength of a Category 3 hurricane when it passes through the archipelago Monday night-Tuesday, local time (Tonga is 18 hours ahead of U.S. EST). Tongatapu would be "pretty much exposed to the full brunt of the cyclone". It made landfall as a category 3 storm.

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 Tongan Meteorological and Coast Radio Services have issued a hurricane warning for Tongatapu and 'Eua.

For other parts of the country, expect strong winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms from early tomorrow.

News website Matangi Tonga said people had been hampered in their preparation for the storm as strict sabbatical laws prevented Sunday trading for emergency supplies.

The TVNZ weatherman has the latest on the storm set to hit the Pacific nation.

If it reached this country it could be as strong, or even stronger, than the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Fehi.

There was extensive flooding, rivers burst banks and houses were flooded.

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