KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17, 2014:
The incident of a tornado, also known as ‘belalai airt’ in Pendang a few days ago may take place again, especially during the northeast monsoon wind change which will begin in November.
According to Senior Meteorological Officer of the National Weather Centre, Dr Mohd Hisham Mohd Anip, the incident was a natural process, but it was not as dangerous as tornadoes that occurred abroad.
“It may see a repeat, because a tornado is formed from the formation of cumulonimbus clouds which are quite common in our country.
“We rarely hear of them. It happens only on a smaller scale, but what happened in Pendang was unique as it was a large one, almost like the tornadoes in the United States.
“The possibility is always there as long as there are formations of cumulonimbus clouds. And in the changing monsoon winds, the atmosphere is unstable and formations of cumulonimbus clouds easily appear,” he said when contacted by The Rakyat Post.
He said the tornado incident was due to the cumulonimbus cloud formation process and the transition of monsoon winds that caused instability of the atmosphere.
However, tornadoes that occurred here were different from tornadoes in the US which were stronger and on a much larger scale.
“In the US it’s more powerful and are of higher intensity. In this country, they are weaker, smaller than a tornado in the United States, because the formation process is different.
“This type of tornado which formed in our country is indeed a kind of tornado that is common in tropical countries. The US type is unlikely to happen in Malaysia.”
The tornado incident on Oct 14 in Pendang, Kedah only involved property damage without any loss of life.
Based on findings by the Meteorological Department, the indicated size of the tornado was in the range of 20 to 50 metres wide, with sustained winds of 150km per hour.
“This storm travelled a distance of about two miles and the wind speed was around 150km an hour based on the damage,” he said while not ruling out the possibility of a similar incident on a larger scale.
According to an incident report provided by the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the tornado occurred in Kedah at around 4.30pm on Oct 14 and was due to the instability of the atmosphere.
“The tornado incident with heavy rains that occurred in Pendang, Kedah, was caused by the formation and movement of small storm clouds, but with high intensity due to the instability of the atmosphere, which was supported by the high humidity and wind convergence at low levels,” read the report.