Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cyclone Evan Batters Samoa; LDS Temple In Penega District In Apia Suffers Minor Damage

Location of islands
While Mormon feminists are obsessing with wearing pants to church, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with others on American Samoa and Western Samoa (an independent nation now simply known as Samoa) are confronting a REAL problem -- the aftermath of Cyclone Evan.

Red = Cat 3, Green = TS
On December 13th, 2012, Cyclone Evan, which had originally formed on December 9th, struck both Samoas. Featuring wind gusts as high as 175 km/h (130 mph), it caused widespread damage in the capital, Apia. The storm destroyed numerous houses and caused almost complete failures in the power and water supply systems. The Tanugamanono power plant was heavily damaged and power might not be restored for up to two months in some areas, while a water treatment plant near Apia was also reported destroyed. As of December 16th at 8:07 AEST, at least four people are known dead, eight more unaccounted for, and at least 3,000 people are now in emergency shelters. Undamaged LDS chapels are also serving as emergency shelters.

The LDS temple in Penega did not emerge completely unscathed, either. According to the LDS Church's NewZealand/Pacific website, the temple suffered some flood damage and a couple of sheets of roofing blew away. The temple will be closed except for two weddings scheduled for Saturday December 15th. It is currently being reported that all LDS members and missionaries on the island are accounted for. Local Church leaders are assessing needs and are assisting members and others with basic relief supplies. The Pacific Area Presidency has approved initial funding for immediate relief efforts. It's not the first time the Samoan Temple has been damaged; on July 9th, 2003, the temple was destroyed by fire, although the statue of the Angel Moroni survived.

Sounds like the Samoan Saints have more serious concerns than whether or not to wear pants to church.

Cyclone Evan (see track map on left) is currently moving away from the northwest coast of Samoa and heading west-southwest at around 15 kilometres an hour. Average winds close to the center are estimated to about 170 km/h with momentary gusts to about 230 km/hr. Tonga and Fiji lie in its path. It's expected to skirt the northern part of the Tonga Islands on December 16-17 local date; winds will vary from 40-60 km/h increasing to 70km/h with momentary gusts up to 100km/hr in the northern part to southeast winds 40-50 km/h throughout the remainder of Tonga. From there, its next stop will be Fiji, although the strongest impact will be in the northern part. Both Tonga and Fiji have LDS temples.

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