Territory welcomes 2014
The World welcomed 2014 beginning from Samoa and Kiribati in the South Pacific and 24 hours later ending with American Samoa and Niue, also in the South Pacific.
While many places around the globe rang in the New Year with major fireworks displays, America Samoa was more mellow possibly because of the rain - heavy at times with winds clocking at 10 mph in several locations on the main island of Tututila.
The not-so-clear weather didn’t make an excellent New Year’s Eve for some residents who were hoping to see the last sunset of 2013 at Poloa village on Tutuila.
The sporadic rain started late Tuesday morning heading into early afternoon, with traffic in the Nu’uuli slowing to a crawl, but at least it was moving. Rain lifted by late afternoon with the sun peeking out from behind the clouds from time to time.
Several residents were pleased with the rain, as the territory has seen some hot weather over the last coupe of weeks, with daytime temperatures topping 90 degrees and not much cooler at night.
Church bells began ringing around 6p.m. signaling the start of first round of New Year’s Eve services while at Methodist churches island-wide members were busy decorating their homemade trees for “Po o Moli” or night of lights, which is a New Year's Eve tradition, introduced to the Samoan islands more than 100 years ago as a way to offer thanks at the end of the year.
The ‘Po o Moli’ service usually lasts for two-hours, ending just at the stroke of mid-night when all the decorations (candy or flower leis, material, food items like chips, cookies, canned goods and boxes of saimin and some moli are decorated with nothing but cash) are distributed.
Meanwhile, the rain picked up again around 9p.m. when people were either heading to late evening church services or to parties, restaurants and nightclubs around the island, despite beefed up police patrols.
At the stroke of mid-night bells could be heard throughout various villages but there was very limited noise from the Samoan cannon, or “fagaofe” - probably due to the rain.
Department of Public Safety is expected to release later today whether or not there were any traffic incidents or public disturbances overnight but at daylight today, it appeared that it was a safe New Year’s Eve celebration.
The rain did bring a lot of debris onto the roads making early morning driving hazardous with fallen banana trees and coconuts littering some roadways.
The National Weather Service in Pago Pago says New Year’s Day will be a wet-one. Occasional showers are expected today, increasing at times to heavy rainfall.
There is a chance of thunderstorms with winds of 15 to 20 mph, with higher gusts.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 from “American Samoa — where America’s day ends.”
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