Category 3 Cyclone Evan leaves Samoa, heads for Fiji
Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Evan is finally done pounding Samoa and American Samoa, after spending two days meandering over the islands. Evan made landfall on the north shore of Samoa near the capital of Apia on Thursday as a Category 1 cyclone with 90 mph winds, and intensified into a Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds after the eye wandered back offshore late Thursday. Media reports indicate that Evan has killed two and brought heavy damage to Samoa. "Power is off for the whole country... Tanugamanono power plant is completely destroyed and we might not have power for at least two weeks," the Disaster Management Office (DMO) said in a statement. Satellite loops show a well-organized storm with plenty of intense heavy thunderstorm activity. The storm will be a region with light wind shear of 10 - 15 knots and very warm ocean waters that extend to great depth, and could intensify into a Category 4 cyclone by Saturday, as it passes through the Wallis and Futuna Islands. On Sunday, Evan is expected to pass just north of Fiji. The GFS model shows that Fiji should experience heavy rains from Evan, but miss the core eyewall region with the strongest winds and highest storm surge. The storm will encounter decreasing ocean heat content on Monday, after it passes Fiji, and should weaken to a Category 1 cyclone. Evan is one of Samoa's most destructive tropical cyclones on record, as discussed by wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt. The most famous and deadliest tropical storm to strike Samoa (in modern records) was that of March 1889, which influenced the balance of Western imperial power in the Southern Pacific.
Figure 1. People walk over a destroyed bridge in Samoa's capital Apia, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, after cyclone Evan ripped through the South Pacific island nation. Phone lines, Internet service and electricity were down across the country, and the airport was closed. (AP Photo/Seti Afoa.)
Figure 2. The German corvette ‘Olga’ lies beached on Samoa following the cyclone of 1889. Photographer unknown.