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Better weather expected as early as Monday

The wet weather conditions will continue throughout the weekend and according to local meteorologist Elinor Lutu-McMoore, better weather is expected next week.


This past week, heavy rains and strong winds have put a damper on holiday celebrations for the territory’s residents. But an optimistic Lutu-McMoore said yesterday afternoon that everything should clear up by next week, as early as Monday.


At this moment, she explained, there is a tropical disturbance located over one of the Tongan Islands, heading towards Fiji. To be more exact, the disturbance is approximately 400 miles (360 nautical miles) southwest of Tutuila Island.


“The disturbance is moving away from us slowly,” Lutu-McMoore said, adding that it is closer to the southwest of Savaii and moving slowly southwest from there.


Yesterday, local residents expressed concern about the weather conditions, with some wondering if a hurricane or tropical cyclone was going to hit within the next few days.


Lutu-McMoore explained that the current weather conditions are a result of a “weak” tropical disturbance, not to be confused with a tropical depression or storm.


She said that while better weather is expected after the weekend, there are still “uncertainties,” as American Samoa is sitting dead smack in the middle of a ridge and a trough.


According to the local meteorologist, while the sky is dark and gloomy, the rainfall hasn’t been as strong and heavy as it was earlier in the week. This is because a trough, which brings wet weather, is being pushed by a ridge, which brings drier weather.


“That’s why it looks like it’s going to rain but it doesn’t,” Lutu-McMoore explained. “We are located right in the middle of all this.”


Although American Samoa isn’t getting as much rain now as it did during the first half of this week, independent Samoa and the Big Island of Savaii are experiencing heavy rainfall.


As a matter of fact, according to Lutu-McMoore, for the past two days, Samoa has been under a high wind advisory. “But we have nothing to worry about for now,” she said, adding that the advisory in neighboring Samoa does not affect us.


“Our major concern right now is flooding. The more rain we get, the more at risk we are for flooding,” she said.


Lutu-McMoore reminds everyone to keep in mind that this is the territory’s rainy season and “it’s always good to be prepared and stay safe.”


During the first two days of January 2014, the territory recorded 3.79 inches of rainfall, while the norm for the month of January is 14.48 inches.


In addition to rainy season, the territory’s hurricane season extends from now until April. Lutu-McMoore said that the outlook for this hurricane season shows that at least one system could affect American Samoa.


“No matter what the seasonal forecast is, we advise the general public to always be prepared,” Lutu-McMoore advised.