Cyclone Rene’s damaging winds have roared into American Samoa, forcing the closure of Pago Pago International Airport.
Government departments and schools have also shut down.
Neighbouring Pacific islands Niue and Tonga are also in Rene’s path.
The eye of the storm is expected to pass over the main American Samoan island of Tutuila overnight
Residents have been warned to stay indoors.
In the town of Ottoville a maintenance worker was killed while securing a roof in advance of the cyclone.
Forecasters say the cyclone has been unpredictable and sustained winds could reach 130kph over the next 12 hours.