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Cyclone Wilma blows over Samoa, strengthening en route to Fiji

  • PHOTO BY JOEY CUMMINGS / COURTESY BARRY MARKOWITZ
    The StarKist tuna cannery in American Samoa suffered significant damage from Cyclone Wilma.
  • PHOTO BY JOEY CUMMINGS / COURTESY BARRY MARKOWITZ
    A fishing boat inundated with water began to sink this morning.
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Cyclone Wilma knocked out power, sent roof shingles flying and triggered landslides as it passed over American Samoa Sunday but there were no reports of fatalities or major damage.

The governor of American Samoa had urged residents to prepare for the storm after forecasts predicted heavy rains and winds of at least 55 mph, with gusts as strong as 75 mph.

The storm passed over the eastern side of the territory, causing power outages in Aolau and blowing rooftops off of homes in Aua. Pago Pago Airport was closed.

The slow-moving cyclone is expected to intensify overnight as it progresses toward Tonga and Fiji, according to the Fiji Meteorological Society. 

The National Weather Service issued gale, high surf and flash flood warnings for the islands of Tutuila, Aunuu and Manua.

As of last night, the storm was on a southerly track at about 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

The South Pacific islands are about 2,300 miles south of Hawaii.

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