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Tropical Cyclone Wilma Hits American Samoa

National Park of American Samoa

National Park News

At about 4 a.m. Sunday morning (local time), Tropical Cyclone Wilma struck Tutuila and Aunu’u Islands with sustained winds of 65 mph, gusts up to 80 mph, and heavy rain. The eye of the cyclone remained positioned over the islands for two hours, intensifying during that period. It then moved south, but the islands are continuing to be hit by heavy rain and strong gusty winds, likely to last for a couple of days. The storm snapped a massive cable from an old cable car system that stretched a mile across and about 1600 feet above Pago Pago Harbor and into the park. Other impacts included damage to some homes, downed trees, flooding, and an eleven-hour-long, island-wide power outage. In preparation for Wilma’s arrival, the park secured its visitor center windows with boards, readied a generator, and implemented a communication protocol to ensure park staff and their families were safe. Park staff were to begin assessing damage along park roads on Monday morning (local time). When weather conditions improve, staff will also assess and begin work to clear trails and determine the effects of the snapped cable. The Pacific Area Command Center, located at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, served as a communication link and alerted the park of Tropical Cyclone Wilma’s early arrival.



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