KUALA LUMPUR: PENINSULAR Malaysia continued to experience erratic and volatile weather yesterday, with storms lashing the west coast and flash floods and landslides occurring in the federal capital here.
It was the same in Sabah and Sarawak, with one waterspout spotted in Bintulu.
There was an alleged sighting of a waterspout in Penang, too.
However, Meteorological Department officials dismissed a video of the phenomenon as fake.
The video, whether genuine or otherwise, is indicative of the weather, with waterspouts occurring regularly.
However, Malaysians had been assured that they did not have to worry.
National Weather Centre senior meteorological officer Dr Mohd Hisham Mohd Anip said the recent “tornadoes” in Taman Sri Kota, Kedah, on Tueday and off the coast of Bintulu yesterday, were common during the intermonsoon season.
“These occurrences are normal because of the formation of cumulonimbus clouds, which are common in our country.
“There is a possibility of it happening again.
“During the intermonsoon season, the atmosphere is unstable, making it susceptible to the formation of convective clouds, such as the towering cumulus and cumulonimbus,” he said yesterday.
Hisham explained that the “tornadoes” that were recently spotted were common in tropical and subtropical areas.
“It happens on a smaller scale here, and they lack the intensity of those that occur, for example, in the United States.
“Because of the differences in the formation process, the ones here are weaker and smaller. It is unlikely that we will be experiencing anything that is powerful or intense.”
These waterspouts, which are basically small rotating columns of air over water, are weaker than landspouts.
However, stronger versions had occurred in the past.
While landspouts share the same development process of waterspouts, they are slightly different as they are a rotating column of air that is in contact with the surface and a cumuliform cloud.
According to the Meteorological Department, the size of the “tornado” spotted in Kedah was between 20cm and 50m, with a sustained wind of 150kph.
“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 because of the instability of the atmosphere supported by the high humidity and wind convergence at low levels.”