2 deaths reported as Cyclone Evan rips through Samoan islands
Infrared image of Cyclone Evan over the Samoan islands Thursday.
December 13th, 2012
09:09 AM ET

2 deaths reported as Cyclone Evan rips through Samoan islands

Tropical Cyclone Evan is battering Samoa and American Samoa in the South Pacific with wind gusts up to 130 mph, heavy rain and pounding surf.

The National Weather Service in Pago Pago issued hurricane and high surf warnings for the islands as well as a flash flood watch.

There were reports of two deaths from the storm in Samoa, an independent country with a population of 183,000. American Samoa is a U.S. territory with a population of about 55,000.

The weather service said Thursday morning that Evan was nearly stationary over the islands. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii said Evan's strength could increase over the next 48 hours, making it a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 126 mph, before it moves away from the Samoan islands to the southwest toward Fiji.

The islands straddle the International Dateline in the Pacific, meaning when it's early Friday in Samoa, it's early Thursday in American Samoa.

Fiji's Meteorological Service said Evan was expected to arrive in that country's waters by Sunday as a Category 3 storm.

Journalist Cherelle Jackson told ABC News of Australia that there was heavy damage in the Samoan capital of Apia, with houses flattened by the storm.

Storm surge and high surf, which the U.S. National Weather Service said could reach 20 feet in the islands, was making a mess of Apia, Jackson said.

Jackson said water and power service had been knocked out in Apia.

Many of the open-style Samoan homes, fales, which don't have windows or doors, sustained heavy damage, she said.

"I don't think we were well prepared because the warning didn't get serious until late last night," Jackson said in a phone interview with ABC.

Jackson said food could be a problem once the storm passes because the trees that supply Samoan staples, such as breadfruit, taro and bananas, had taken a heavy hit from the storm's winds.

"The breadfruits are just all over the road," she said.

The New Zealand high commissioner in Apia, Nick Hurley, told Radio New Zealand of heavy damage.

"From what I have seen and heard it has made a huge impact on, for a start, all the vegetation, the trees, the infrastructure, all around Apia the power is out. A lot of people don’t have any water . The trees have snapped, in a lot of cases have actually come down across roads, crashed into the fale, onto the houses," Hurley is quoted as saying.

Images from Samoa were popping up on Twitter.

See photos of Evan destruction from Australia's ABC News.

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Filed under: Fiji • Samoa • Tropical weather • Weather
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. oldebabe

    Reminds me of the cyclone `Val' of December 1990, which devastated Amer Samoa (at least). I was sent to Pago Pago and surrounding area for a month in January to assess the damage and replace/repair, as were both the USACE and FEMA, that I know of. (Quite an experience all round, BTW.) Must be cyclone time in the area during that part of the year.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • VegasBen

      I was in Apia after Ofa, with the US Army, restoring communications and air lifting wounded and supplies. Was bad then and this storm sounds much worse.
      25th ID – Tropic Lightning

      December 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    Somoans are a proud and resilient people ,they will survive,they always have..My prayers go out to them,good luck!!

    December 13, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Orepa

    Our prayers are with you all both in Western Samoa and American Samoa, Especially to my dad and his family in Pesega, Apia Samoa...I'm still trying to get thru the phone lines...May Gods love be upon you all...

    December 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tele

    I pray for everyone's safety and hope that any damage is minimum and lives spared....This is generally
    hurricane season at home...SAMOA, I know your FAITH is strong and WE will all help rebuild you to the happy
    and friendly nation that you are.My heart and prayers are with you all.
    .

    December 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Big V

    2012 the end of the world is just around the corner and this could be the first indication

    December 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Angel

    My prayers goes out to the people of Samoa ( American and Western Samoa) ! May the Almighty keep you safe in His hands.

    December 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |