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Storm sparks evacuations in Samoas

Last updated 15:45 21/01/2013
Cyclone garry samoa

WILD WEATHER: The Cyclone forming near Samoa.

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People are being evacuated in Samoa and American Samoa ahead of the arrival early tomorrow of a cyclone, the second in just over a month.

Weather forecasters said the storm was still a tropical depression but they expected to name it Cyclone Garry later today.

The US Coast Guard has ordered the closing of American Samoa's Pago Pago harbour and a tuna canneries has been forced to close.

"All ocean going commercial vessels and oceangoing barges greater than 200 gross tons that have not received captain of the port authorization to remain in port must depart the port immediately," the Coast Guard said.

"Vessels bound for this port must seek an alternative destination."

The Samoan capital, Apia, has begun closing down, with public buildings shut and people moving back from the coast. The city was still damaged from Cyclone Evan, which killed 14 people in the country last month.

An Auckland woman in Samoa, Taufau Gardenia, has tweeted from Sili on Savai'i, to say some families were being moved to churches.

"No winds still just a few rain drops," she said.

The cyclone, which was passing over the French Wallis Island, was not going to make landfall but rather run close to the northern coasts of the two Samoas.

It is expected to come within 96 kilometres of Tutuila, the main American Samoan island.

On December 17 Samoa declared a state of emergency in the wake of Evan. It was only lifted it last week.

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