Tropical Cyclone Gita lashes American Samoa
February 20, 2018 | 77° | Check Traffic

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Tropical Cyclone Gita lashes American Samoa

  • COURTESY U.S. COAST GUARD

    The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended response operations for the 88-foot commercial fishing vessel Chui Zai Fa No. 1 grounded about 300 yards off Leone Bay, American Samoa, Friday, and will wait until Tropical Cyclone Gita has passed American Samoa and safe weather conditions return.

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A tropical storm warning, in addition to a flash flood watch and high surf warning, remains in effect for all of American Samoa, according to weather officials, as Tropical Cyclone Gita approaches Tutuila this weekend.

At 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Samoa, satellite analysis from Honolulu found the center of Tropical Storm Gita was about 60 miles south of Tutuila. Gita was moving east, south-east at 17 mph. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 52 mph and gusts over 60 mph.

A flash flood warning for Tutuila Aunuu Manua Swains remains in effect until 12:30 p.m. Samoa time. The high surf warning, bringing dangerous surf of 15 to 18 feet, remains in effect through 7 a.m. Sunday Samoa time.

Weather officials warn Samoa residents of possible mud and landslides along steep slopes and advise the public to take necessary precautions when driving, as well as to remain on alert and secure loose items.

The U.S. Coast Guard also issued a “Port Condition Zulu” for the Port of Pago Pago, meaning the port is closed and all port operations suspended except for specifically authorized vessel movements and activities.

The Coast Guard, along with local authorities, have suspended response operations for the grounding of the 88-foot commercial fishing vessel Chui Zai Fa No. 1, about 300 yards off Leone Bay, until Tropical Cyclone Gita has passed.

The Coast Guard said mariners should secure their boats and boating equipment, while owners of large boats should move their vessels to protected marinas.

Swimmers are also urged to stay clear of beaches until local officials say the water is safe.

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