Cyclone Garry spares Samoa as it intensifies

00:27, Jan 22 2013
cyclone garry tuesday
GROWING: Cyclone Garry hovering over the outer edges of American Samoa.

Cyclone Garry has spared Samoa and American Samoa but is now tracking toward French Polynesia and the Cook Islands.

Garry became a category one cyclone last night and has been intensifying as it moves across the Pacific.

Samoa was on high alert with the storm hitting a month after Cyclone Evan ravaged the country and severely damaged the capital Apia.

High winds have been battering American Samoa where schools, government offices and the port of Pago Pago were closed until the storm passed.

The Samoa Meteorological Service said Garry was intensifying about 200 kilometres north east of Apia and was sitting right over American Samoa 's Swains Atoll.

About 14 people from the neighbouring New Zealand territory of Tokelau live on Swains.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii said the storm was expected to curve away to the south east toward French Polynesia.

Two Cook Islands' atolls, Suwarrow and Palmerston, were directly in its path.

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