Weatherman: Phenomenon may occur in next two weeks

The Star, 2 Nov 2014

ALOR SETAR: The mini tornado phenomenon may happen again in the country in the next two weeks, said National Weather Centre senior meteorological officer Dr Mohd Hisham Mohd Anip.

Although the chances were slim, he said it was due to the inter monsoon season which usually brought along thunderstorm and heavy rain.

“Now we are nearing the end of the season before we enter the north-east monsoon in the next two weeks.

“I believe mini tornadoes will occur again but the strength will be weaker and less intense as the monsoon is ending,” he said when contacted yesterday.

On Friday evening, a twister hit Alor Setar, injuring at least two people and damaging 72 houses.

It was the second incident in Kedah after the first one which happened in Pendang on Oct 14.

Dr Mohd Hisham also said that based on the observation at the weather station in Sultan Abdul Halim Airport some 15km away from where the twister hit, it was believed that the mini tornado was spinning at a speed of 50kph to 80kph at a range of 20m wide in diameter.

“It was smaller than the one which hit Pendang, which was about 50m wide in diameter and moved at the speed of 150kph.”

Yesterday, the residents cleaned up their homes after Friday’s mini tornado, which blew away rooftops, uprooted trees and damaged houses in Kampung Mergong Hilir, Kampung Batin, Taman Mergong Jaya, Taman Inang and Kampung Sungai Baru.

Siti Nur Maisarah, 12, was speechless when she saw the mini tornado.

“All this while, I had only seen it on TV. But on Friday, I saw how the strong wind blew our roof away.

“When I ran out of my house, I saw the twister in a distance, with some objects flying right on top of it,” she said when met at Kampung Sungai Baru yesterday.

Describing it as “scary and huge”, Siti Nur said it was an unforgettable experience.

In Kampung Batin, lorry driver Azizan Abd Rani, 39, claimed he and his five-year-old son, whom he was carrying, were both sucked into the twister, before they landed in a padi field nearby.

“I was outside my house talking with my neighbours when I saw the tornado ripping off rooftops of houses about a kilometre away.

“I did not expect the twister to come towards my direction. Suddenly, I was blown into the padi field while my neighbours managed to cling on to some poles,” he recounted.

The Meteorological Department’s website said there would be thunderstorms in Kedah in the afternoon and night today.