Garry is currently 126 nautical miles northeast of the capital, Apia. It is a Category One system but is expected to intensify into a Category Two in the next few hours.
Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Mulipola Titimaea, assistant chief executive of the Meteorology Division at the National Disaster Management Office, Samoa
TITIMAEA: At the moment it is 126 nautical miles north, northeast of Apia, it's 131 nautical northeast of Sava'i. The reference point is one of the villages there, of Avau; as of 6 am this morning.
COUTTS: Alright, and what category of Tropical cyclone is Garry?
TITIMAEA: It's Category One at the moment, as far we're concerned. It probably will intensify in the next few hours to Category Two. But if it continues in the current track, it's expected to be about 161 nautical miles east - northeast from Apia, that means it's moving away to about 40 miles.
COUTTS: I've heard it described that it's been playing a bit of a cat and mouse game with forecasters and it's a bit hard to predict where it will go precisely. Are you having those problems?
TITIMAEA: Yes, we're having similar to other centres, the problem of as you said, so to speak, a cat and mouse game. As centres that are protected somehow, that it moves southeast last night and well, if you make comparison to Evan, on the most eastern side of the islands, Evan was predicted to make a southwest path. But unfortunately, it moved northeast. At the moment, that's the situation which I think the centres and our forecasters are playing upon.
The models predicts that it could move southeast continually.
COUTTS: And if it does go in that direction, what is in its path?
TITIMAEA: It will be with the south and Cook Islands. It will not affect us in anyway. But if it makes a southwest path, then it could come back our way, so that's the situation as of now. We're still maintaining our warnings, both at the wind levels, storm warning, the storm search and also specifically of heavy rain that might lead to flooding and landslides.
COUTTS: Alright. Mulipola, from what you know, from the past, when you get a cyclone like Garry, that's being unpredictable and is twisting and turning a little bit, what does that tell you? What have you learnt from the past about what and might help you to predict what it could do?
TITIMAEA: It's a kind of a small system that operates on a small radius and some forecasters call them "midgets" in a sense and there are situations that it says more radius, but it's got a very huge impact as we have known that from Tropical Cyclone Evan. And it's, they are very small systems and some forecasters and scientists call them Black Swans as it's difficult to pick up the intensity in terms of the radius of impact from the centre. So at this time, it's similar to Evan in its characteristics and the environment of formation. So we'll learn from that, that it's path is unpredictable, so it's not wise at this stage to make predictions on its current track based on the different models that the centres are bringing up. So yeah, as we've seen with Evan itself, it was the centres did not quite predict its impact, especially on the eastern quadrant, east of the islands, when it becomes stationary at a time and then it could make the path which is quite different from the prediction.
COUTTS: And are there any other depressions that you're keeping your eye on?
TITIMAEA: Yes, there's another depression and it's forming just east of this depression, but it's very weak. That's what we were conscious of that if it does develop it might led to the stationary of Tropical Cyclone Garry and sometimes and then if that intensifies, it could make a southwest path again.
But there is also an interesting one to the west which could be forming again on the same area in which the depression where TC Garry now is formed, but it's moving and it's predicted. It's forecasted to move also and that could impact Fiji and come between us and Fiji. But that's a long term forecast.
COUTTS: OK. So some pretty ordinary weather perhaps on the way with these three depressions or two depressions and Tropical Cyclone Garry?
TIITIMAEA: Yes, yes, because it has been predicted that the monsoon trough which this will be riding on, all these depressions have been riding on. It's going to be active, so it's a very big decision for the centres, especially for us in the Pacific Islands.