Frightening night for Chch pair in Samoa

Last updated 12:36 14/12/2012

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A Christchurch couple caught up in Samoa's cyclone spent a sleepless night as wind and rain battered their house. 

Cyclone Evan has intensified this morning over Samoa but has turned north west and is likely to spare the capital Apia a second battering.

The storm, now a Category Three, killed at least three people - including two children - yesterday.

Christchurch man Fred Filipe, who travels to the Samoan capital for work, told The Press this morning that it had been a long night without sleep for him and wife Yvonne Filipe. 

Their house in Vaivase, about five minutes from Apia, was undamaged, although there were a few leaks.

Being uphill, they had escaped major flooding, but they did not have power or water. 

All the trees in the plantation surrounding their house had been uprooted and the strength of the wind was "frightening", Yvonne Filipe said.

The wind and rain had died down since 2am but they were preparing for the storm to hit again this morning.

The cyclone has already inflicted massive damage on Apia, while details on the fatalities are not yet available.

In its latest bulletin the Samoan Meteorological Service said Evan was moving north at 16kmh, nearly double its speed last night and was 55 kilometres north-north east of Apia.

"TC (tropical cyclone) Evan is expected to move west-southwest and may relocate at about 39 miles (63km) north-northwest of Apia at 5pm this evening."

Winds of 113-153kmh are expected.

Forecasters said the storm could be heading toward Samoa's biggest island of Savai'i and then northern Tonga, the French islands of Wallis and Fatuna and Fiji.

Phone lines are still down in Samoa, and the country's high commissioner in New Zealand has been struggling to get updated information. 

The Filipes were keeping their family in Christchurch updated by cellphone, but expected the battery to run down soon.

They were planning to return to Christchurch next Friday.

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- The Press


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