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After rain (and more rain) clearing weather on the way

Residents of American Samoa should expect the rain to ease over the weekend, just in time for Christmas shoppers heading out to find great gifts for those who have been good all year round.


The territory has been faced with rain off and on — with only a few breaks here and there — since this past weekend, and the National Weather Service in Tafuna is forecasting a much better weekend ahead, with less rain by late Saturday heading into Sunday and Monday.


Meteorologist Carol Baqui said a trough to the west-southwest of the Samoan islands is the main “weather pattern” that will be triggering wet weather for the next couple of days, but they are expecting this to change by the weekend.


As of yesterday, the weather office forecast that the trough will move across the Samoan islands tonight.  For the latest weather update, the weather office asks residents to tune in their local radio stations. They also advise residents to always be cautious during heavy downpours, especially when driving on the highway.


As of last yesterday morning, the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Operation Center had not received any problem calls due to the rain.


Meanwhile, the weather office at the Tafuna airport recorded over four inches of rain for December since the beginning of the month, but “there may be some other spots or areas of the territory with more rain” especially along mountain areas, said Baqui.


Normal rainfall for December is about 14 inches, but Baqui forecast that the territory will receive another two to three more inches than normal by the end of the month.  Again, she noted that this is the projection for the airport area, while other spots may receive even higher amounts.


Total December rainfall has, at times gone beyond 14 inches — for example, in 2009 it was just over 18 inches, 2010 was around 12 inches but last year was around 18 inches.


“Rainfall for December varies from year to year” and a contributing factor is the location of the South Pacific Convergence Zone weather pattern, said Baqui, adding that this zone is expected to sit over the Samoan islands this month, bringing additional rain.


Since Jan. 1 this year, the weather office has recorded at the airport area a total of 120.87 inches, which is “huge compared to other Pacific islands”, said Baqui.


American Samoa and the rest of the South Pacific region are now in Hurricane Season, and the weather office again reminds the public that they are the official warning center for the territory when it comes to issuing advisories and warnings for all weather related activities.