A report on the tropical cyclone outlook for 2023/2024 has forecast Samoa to experience at least one tropical cyclone event between November and April next year.
The forecast was issued a fortnight ago on 23 September 2023 as part of a report 2023 to 2024 Southwest Pacific Tropical Cyclone Outlook authored by the Long-Range Tropical Cyclone Outlooks.
According to the report, an El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean dipole event are underway, driving elevated risk of tropical cyclone activity towards the eastern Southwest Pacific.
It stated that the September 2023 long-range Tropical Cyclone (TC) outlook for the Southwest Pacific suggests near-normal tropical cyclone activity for the coming 2023-2024 Southwest Pacific tropical cyclone season from 1 November 2023 to 30 April 2024.
The same report also projects that a total of 10 TC are expected for the Southwest Pacific region, however, the probable range of tropical cyclones could lie between 8 and 14.
There is also a 55 percent chance that the season will see average or below-average cyclone counts at 9 or less and a 45 per cent chance the season will see above-average cyclone counts of 10 or more.
The TC outlook also reported on the El Niño southern oscillation which is currently underway in the Pacific. Multiple agencies indicate a 100 per cent chance of El Niño conditions for the first three months of the Southwest Pacific TC season which is from November this year to January next year.
El Niño conditions typically result in increased tropical cyclone activity towards the east and northeast of the Southwest Pacific basin and less activity in the other regions. According to the report by Long-Range Tropical Cyclone Outlooks, every El Niño event is different.
The Samoa Meteorological Service, when contacted by Samoa Observer to give its outlook, said it will prepare its report and will present it at the regional level before it is made available to the public in the country.
They said they would be in a better position to make a comment once they return from Fiji. The regional meeting is scheduled for the end of the month in Fiji.
The most recent TC event experienced by Samoa was Tropical Cyclone Zazu in 2020. However, it did not make direct landfall in Samoa. In 2012 TC Evan devastated the country and caused widespread destruction in Apia with 14 deaths reported.
Families were displaced, homes and crops destroyed, rivers flooded, trees and power lines toppled and infrastructure damaged.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS