Two people have died and a state of disaster has been declared in Samoa as Tropical Cyclone Evan reverses direction and threatens to strike the South Pacific island state a second time, according to reports from the capital, Apia.
The cyclone had already destroyed homes and crops, toppled trees and power lines and flooded buildings as a massive ocean surge caused a river to burst its banks in Apia, flooding the famous Aggie Grey's hotel.
The Samoa Meteorological Service warned on Friday that the cyclone had stalled after passing over the main island of Upolu and was forecast to turn back. It predicted winds of 120 to 145 km/h, gusting to 160 km/h.
Those would whip up rough seas to about four metres, which could inundate Apia again.
'We're just waiting for it,' Nick Hurley, New Zealand's senior diplomat in Apia, which has about 36,000 residents, told Radio New Zealand.
Tourists were reported to have been evacuated from coastal resorts.
Other South Pacific island states Tonga and Fiji were bracing themselves for Cyclone Evan to hit them after it leaves Samoa.
Cyclones regularly sweep the Pacific in the southern hemisphere summer. In 2009, 189 people died when a tsunami hit several countries in the region.