The Australian-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information (APCEDI) is managed by AFAP to help with rapid disaster response assessment. This was originally a communications network that was activated during a disaster to disseminate information to our FSP Pacific offices. Now APCEDI has a much wider application across the South Pacific.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

APCEDI ALERT 09F/08F #13, 2005: DUAL CYCLONES NANCY AND OLAF BATTERING SOUTHERN COOKS, SAMOA AND AMERICAN SAMOA

Super-Cyclone Olaf is impacting on Savai'i, the westernmost, major island of Samoa. It will continue to track across the rest of Samoa and American Samoa throughout today. Cyclone Nancy has caused damage on Aitutake, Rarotonga, Mitiaro, Atiu and Mauke and continues to batter the Southern Cooks. This continues to be a critically dangerous situation for Samoa, American Samoa and the Southern Cooks. Watches and warnings continue over a wide area of the South Pacific covering a record 8 countries as follows:

NORTHERN COOK ISLANDS:
A STRONG WIND WARNING IS NOW CURRENT FOR ALL NORTHERN COOK WATERS.

SOUTHERN COOK ISLANDS:
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR MANUAE, ATIU, MITIARO, MAUKE AND NEARBY SMALLER ISLANDS.
A STORM WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR RAROTONGA, MANGAIA, NEARBY SMALLER ISLANDS AND IS NOW IN FORCE FOR AITUTAKI.
THE STRONG WIND WARNING PREVIOUSLY IN FORCE FOR PALMERSTON IS NOW CANCELLED.

SAMOA:
HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR ALL OF SAMOA

AMERICAN SAMOA:
A HURRICANE WARNING FOR AMERICAN SAMOA REMAINS IN EFFECT

TOKELAU
A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR TOKELAU WATERS.

TONGA
A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR ALL TONGA WATERS.

TUVALU
A STRONG WIND WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR TUVALU WATERS.

NIUE
A STRONG WIND WARNING IS NOW IN FORCE FOR NIUE WATERS.

WALLIS AND FUTUNA
A STRONG WIND WARNING FOR ALL AREAS.

----
CYCLONE NANCY
Cyclone Nancy has weakened to a strong Category 2 Cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale overnight perhaps due to continuing interaction with more powerful Olaf to the northwest. However, the weakening trend is very slow, and Nancy is forecast to remain a strong Category 2 Cyclone. It is now moving southwest at 15 kt. It currently lies about 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Rarotonga and 100 miles (160 km) northnorthwest of Mangaia.

APCEDI has been in touch with the Cyclone Centres on Aitutake and Rarotonga this morning and can report the following:

There have been no reports of injuries or casualties.

Situation on Aitutake (2000 population): All preparations have been completed. Tourists have been evacuated from resorts, and many have been taken to Rarotonga. Some tourists have decided to ride out the cyclone on Aitutake. Radio announcements have been going out all day for people to evacuate from low-lying and coastal areas. Six Safety Houses (cyclone shelters) have now been opened, and over 250 of the islands 2000 residents have sought safety in these. The Cyclone Centre has all municipal workers on standby, ready to assist when storm hits. The east side of the island has borne the brunt of the storm with many trees down, major tidal surge, some roof damage. Pearl Beach Hotel has serious damage from wind and tidal surge. Winds on the east side are now sustained at 10-20 knots with gusts to 30 knots, with intermittent rain. Clean-up will begin later today.

Situation on Rarotonga (12,000 population): All preparations have been completed. Six shelters are being opened, and but only about 10 people have come in, but more people may come in if the conditions begin to deteriorate later. The Cyclone Centre is fully operational and monitoring the situation very closely. Winds are starting to gust to 60-80 kt with intermittent heavy rain squalls. The eastern side of the island has sustained the most damage so far with many trees blocking the main road, power down to much of the east side.

Situation on Mitiaro (230 population) Widespread low-level damage. 3 main houses destroyed. Trees down and all roads blocked. Winds still gusting 60-90 kt. 1 Shelter is open with many persons being housed.

Situation on Atiu (620 population)Widespread low-level damage. 4 main houses destroyed. Over 80 large trees down and all roads blocked. Winds still gusting 60-80 kt. 1 Shelter is open with many persons being housed.

Situation on Mauke (470 population)Widespread low-level damage. 4 main houses destroyed. Over 80 large trees down and all roads blocked. Winds still gusting 60-70 kt. Seas very rough. 1 Shelter is open with many persons being housed.

Nancy is now moving more southwesterly. Continuation of this movement will likely bring the storm to about 50 miles (80 km) east of Rarotonga, which has already had significant damage from Cyclone Meena a few weeks ago. It is likely that the storm will continue as a strong Category 2 during this time.

All concerns in the Southern Cooks have completed cyclone preparedness measures. Special attention should continue be paid to the coastal zone where much damage has already occurred from Cyclone Meena and seawalls and other protective structures may be damaged or undermined. Authorities in the Cooks should be very much aware that Cyclone Olaf is forecast to be following on the heels of Cyclone Nancy as a another major cyclone, and there may be only 24-48 hours to recover or do any repairs. Thus authorities should in fact be prepared for a quick double hit by both storms in a 24-72 hour period. This is an unusual and very dangerous situation.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has issued the Latest Tracking Map for Cyclone Nancy.

SOUTHERN COOK ISLANDS ALERT FROM FIJI METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE

Special Weather Bulletin Number FOURTEEN for Southern Cooks ON TC NANCY
issued from RSMC NADI Feb 15/1758 UTC 2005 UTC.

TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING

A STORM WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR RAROTONGA, MANGAIA AND IS NOW IN
FORCE FOR MANUAE, ATIU, MITIARO, MAUKE AND NEARBY SMALLER ISLANDS.

A STRONG WIND WARNING IS NOW IN FORCE FOR AITUTAKI.


TROPICAL CYCLONE NANCY CENTRE [950hPa] WAS LOCATED NEAR 20.4S 159.0W OR ABOUT 65 MILES NORTHEAST OF RAROTONGA AND ABOUT 100 MILES NORTHNORTHWEST OF MANGAIA AT 151700 UTC. CYCLONE MOVING SOUTHWEST
ABOUT 15 KNOTS. 10-MINUTE AVERAGE WINDS ESTIMATED AT 80 KNOTS CLOSE TO CENTRE, DECREASING TO 60 KNOTS IN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS. EXPECT WINDS OVER 63 KNOTS WITHIN 30 MILES OF CENTRE, OVER 47 KNOTS WITHIN 60 MILES OF CENTRE, AND ABOVE 33 KNOTS WITHIN 150 MILES OF CENTRE IN THE EASTERN SEMICIRCLE AND WITHIN 90 MILES OF CENTRE ELSEWHERE.

ON ITS CURRENT FORECAST TRACK, THE CYCLONE IS EXPECTED TO LIE ABOUT 65 MILES SOUTHEAST OF RAROTONGA OR ABOUT 65 MILES WEST OF MANGAIA AT 160300UTC AND ABOUT 80 MILES WESTSOUTHWEST OF MANGAIA OR ABOUT 85 MILES SOUTHSOUTHEAST OF RAROTONGA AT 160600UTC.

FOR MANUAE, ATIU, MITIARO, MAUKE, AND NEARBY SMALLER ISLANDS: EXPECT DESTRUCTIVE STORM FORCE WINDS WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS OF 55 KNOTS AND MOMENTARY GUSTS TO 75 KNOTS GRADUALLY EASING. FREQUENT HEAVY RAIN WITH SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS GRADUALLY EASING. VERY HIGH SEAS. DAMAGING HEAVY SWELLS. FLOODING INCLUDING SEA FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS EXPECTED.

FOR MANGAIA, RAROTONGA, AND NEARBY SMALLER ISLANDS: WINDS POSSIBLY INCREASING TO DESTRUCTIVE STORM FORCE WITH AVERAGE SPEEDS OF 50 KNOTS AND MOMENTARY GUSTS OF 70 KNOTS, EASING LATER TODAY. FREQUENT HEAVY
RAIN WITH SQUALLY THUNDERSTORMS, EASING LATER TODAY. SEAS BECOMING VERY HIGH. DAMAGING HEAVY SWELLS. FLOODING INCLUDING SEA FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS EXPECTED.

FOR AITUTAKI: SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST WINDS 25 TO 30 KNOTS GUSTING 45 KNOTS, GRADUALLY EASING. SOME SHOWERS EASING LATER TODAY. VERY ROUGH SEAS. DAMAGING HEAVY SWELLS. FLOODING INCLUDING SEA FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS STILL EXPECTED.

FOR PALMERSTON: MODERATE WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS. BRIEF SHOWERS. MODERATE SEAS. MODERATE TO HEAVY SWELLS.

The next Special Weather Bulletin for the Southern Cook Islands will be issued at 152100 UTC or earlier.
____

SUPER-CYCLONE OLAF
Super-Cyclone Olaf slowed down considerable last night as it was approaching Savai'i. For much of the early morning it was crawling east at 5 kt. However, in the last several hours it seems to have resumed its onslaught on Samoa and American Samoa. It is now tracking southeast at 10 kt toward Samoa about 205 miles (330 kms) northwest of Pago Pago, American Samoa or 135 miles (220 kms) northwest of Asau, Savai'i. Olaf is moving eastsoutheast at 13 kt. Olaf's intensity models vary at this point, but overall it is forecast to maintain strength and maintain a southeast track toward Samoa and American Samoa. It is now a very strong Category 4 Super Cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale and is forecast to be a Category 4/5 Cyclone in 6-12 hours by the time it is predicted to move near or over Samoa and America Samoa later today.

At this forecast track and intensity, Olaf would pass very near or over Apia as a Category 4/5 Cyclone on Tuesday late morning or afternoon. All concerns and authorities in Samoa and American Samoa should have finalised preparation activities consistent with a Category 4 Super Cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. After Samoa, Olaf is forecast to head toward the Southern Cooks as a Category 3/4 Cyclone. This area will have already been affected by Cyclone Nancy plus the effects from Cyclone Meena earlier in the month. Niue may also get a glancing blow from the storm. This is a critically dangerous situation for Samoa, American Samoa and the Cooks.

Authorities in Samoa and American Samoa have worked all day yesterday to rush preparedness operations to a finish. Both Governments and NDMOs have had a number of special meetings yesterday to prepare for the oncoming situation. All airports in both countries shut down at 5:00 PM local time yesterday due to the approaching cyclone and all flights have been cancelled or rerouted. All schools have been closed as well as most public and private operations. Radio reports have been warning all residents for the past 48 hours, and most coastal businesses and homes have largely boarded up, and everyone is awaiting the arrival of the storm.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center has issued the Latest Tracking Map for Cyclone Olaf.

SAMOA ALERT FROM SAMOA METEOROLOGY DIVISION

SPECIAL WEATHER BULLETIN NUMBER TWENTY TWO (22) FOR SAMOA ISSUED BY SAMOA METEOROLOGY SERVICES AT 151630Z OR 5:30 A.M. 15th FEBRUARY 2005.

…… HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN FORCE FOR ALL OF SAMOA ….

TROPICAL CYCLONE OLAF WAS RELOCATED NEAR 12.0 SOUTH 174.1 WEST OR 118 NAUTICAL MILES NORTHWEST OF ASAU AND 173 MILES NORTHWEST OF APIA AT 151500Z OR 4:00 A.M THIS MORNING. TROPICAL CYCLONE OLAF REMAINS IN ITS CURRENT STRENGTH AND WAS MOVING WEST IN THE LAST TWO HOURS AND IS EXPECTED TO CURVE SOUTHEAST. SUSTAINED WINDS OF 120 MPH NEAR THE CENTRE INCREASING TO 150 MPH IN THE NEXT 6 TO 12 HOURS. OLAF WAS WEAKENING IN THE LAST THREE HOURS BUT IS EXPECTED TO REINTENSIFY WITHIN THE NEXT 6 TO 18 HOURS.

IF OLAF CONTINUES MOVING ON ITS CURRENT TRACK IT WILL RELOCATE TO 45 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF ASAU AND ABOUT 27 NAUTICAL MILES NORTHWEST OF APIA AT 160000Z OR 1:00 P.M THIS AFTERNOON.

FOR SAMOA: 
GALE TO STORM FORCE WINDS OF 40 TO 70 MPH ARE EXPECTED FOR SAVAII AND UPOLU WITHIN THE NEXT 3 T0 6 HOURS INCREASING TO HURRICANE FORCE OF 90 TO 120 WITHIN THE NEXT 6 TO 9 HOURS.

HEAVY RAIN AND POSSIBLE FLOODING IN LOW LYING AREAS AND OVERFLOWING RIVERS IN THE AFTERNOON.

ROUGH TO VERY ROUGH SEAS WITH VERY HEAVY SWELLS DEVELOPING AND AFFECTING LOW LYING NORTHERN COASTAL AREAS.

AMERICAN SAMOA ALERT FROM NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ASSOCIATION

WTZS81 NSTU 152000
HLSZS1
ASZ001>003-152300-

BULLETIN
...IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED...
TROPICAL CYCLONE OLAF...LOCAL STATEMENT 12
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PAGO PAGO AS
9 AM SST TUE FEB 15 2005

...EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE OLAF HEADING TOWARD AMERICAN SAMOA...

...AREAS AFFECTED...
THIS STATEMENT RECOMMENDS ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY ALL RESIDENTS OF AMERICAN SAMOA.

...WATCHES/WARNINGS...
...A HURRICANE WARNING FOR AMERICAN SAMOA REMAINS IN EFFECT...

...STORM INFORMATION...
HURRICANE OLAF REMAINS EXTREMELY STRONG WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF 140 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 170 MPH NEAR THE CENTER. HURRICANE OLAF WAS LOCATED AT 12.2 SOUTH 173.2 WEST OR ABOUT 200 NAUTICAL MILES NORTHWEST OF PAGO PAGO AT 7 AM SST TUESDAY. HURRICANE OLAF WAS MOVING EAST SOUTHEAST AT ONLY 10 MPH IN THE LAST 6 HOURS AND IT APPEARS THAT IT IS NOW MOVING SOUTHEAST AT ABOUT 10 TO 15 MPH. AT THISMOVEMENT...HURRICANE OLAF WILL BE NEAR TUTUILA TUESDAY EVENING.

...STORM SURGE AND TIDE IMPACTS...
THE THREAT OF COASTAL FLOODING WILL BE ON THE INCREASE TODAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY AS VERY DESTRUCTIVE SEAS OF 25 TO 40 FEET WILL GENERATE VERY DANGEROUS AND DAMAGING SURF OF UP TO 50 FT TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY. COASTAL FLOODING OF LOW-LYING AREAS ALONG THE NORTH SHORES IS IMMINENT. ALL SMALL CRAFTS SHOULD STAY IN PORT.

...WIND INFORMATION...
WINDS OF 30 TO 50 MPH WILL BEGIN TO AFFECT ALL ISLANDS THIS MORNING INCREASING RAPIDLY THROUGHOUT TUESDAY WITH WINDS REACHING 140 MPH WITH LOCALLY HIGHER GUSTS TUESDAY EVENING AND TUESDAY NIGHT.

...FLOOD INFORMATION...
HEAVY SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL MOVE OVER THE ISLANDS TUESDAY CAUSING WIDESPREAD FLOODING OF LOW LYING AREAS AND OVERFLOW OF STREAMS. LANDSLIDES WILL OCCUR DURING HEAVY DOWNPOUR.

...PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
ALL RESIDENTS OF AMERICAN SAMOA MUST TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. THE PUBLIC IS ADVISED TO STAY TUNE TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO...LOCAL TV AND RADIO STATIONS FOR LATEST INFORMATION ON EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE OLAF.

...NEXT UPDATES...
THE NEXT SCHEDULED STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED AT 12 PM TUESDAY.

NIUE
Authorities in Niue should monitor the situation closely. Cyclone Olaf is approaching from a direction similar to Cyclone Heta last year which devastated the island. It is currently forecasted to pass well to the northeast of Niue, but a slight shift could bring Niue into target. There is also a very small potential for Cyclone Nancy to double back to the southwest and near the island although this is currently not expected. It is likely that watches and warnings will be upgraded for Niue in 24-36 hours.

TOKELAU
Authorities in Tokelau should monitor the situation closely. The forecast path of Olaf brings it fairly far south of the main island groups, and with the current southeastward trend, Olaf is now moving away from the islands. Very rough seas will remain for some time.

TONGA
The Northern Islands Group of the Niuas could expect to feel the outer effects of Cyclone Olaf, once it passes through Samoa.

TUVALU and WALLIS AND FUTUNA
Authorities in Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna are seeing the cyclones moving away from their island groups, but should be vigilant in case of a significant reversal in direction. Seas will be quite rough in much of this area.

FRENCH POLYNESIA
Depending on how the systems cross through the Cook Islands, either could pose a potential threat to the Austral Group and other southern islands of French Polynesia in 48-72 hours.

Good satellite image for both systems together.

Both Cyclones are major storms capable of very destructive damage to any area that receives a direct or near direct hit.

Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale
Winds 111-130 mph (96-113 knots or 178-209 km/hr) - Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large tress blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering of floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 ft above mean sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required.

Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale
Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 knots or 210-249 km/hr) - Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).

APCEDI will continue to monitor the progress of these tropical systems.

Kevin Vang
APCEDI Coordinator
http://www.afap.org

 
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