Whirlwind at Changi East development site a rare landspout: MSS


The video of the landspout circulated on several social media platforms on Tuesday. - SCREENGRAB FROM SINGAPORE ROAD ACCIDENT/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): A whirlwind of debris at a development project, which includes the site for Changi Airport Terminal 5, seen in a video that had made the rounds online is a landspout, said the weatherman.

The video of the landspout circulated on several social media platforms on Tuesday (May 2), and shows debris being lifted into the air in an upward circular motion, with dark clouds looming over the construction site.

The wind seemed to be strong enough to drag orange and white barricades across the ground, and traffic signs seemed to flutter in the wind.

A Changi Airport Group (CAG) spokesman said the incident on Sunday morning was caused by an “unusual natural phenomenon” at the Changi East development site and no one was injured.

“CAG and our contractors have since secured the movable items with additional support and works at the site have resumed following a safety assessment,” the spokesman added.

The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said that landspouts occur when circulating air currents above a warm surface get sucked into air that is moving upward as a thunderstorm cloud develops.

MSS said it observed several thunderstorms at the eastern end of Singapore and over the offshore islands at about 11am on Sunday.

It added: “The landspout was likely to have been spawned off from a thunderstorm which developed around Changi from around 11.10am.

“A landspout typically has a lifespan of several minutes, and weakens quickly as the thunderstorm matures or dissipates. The gusts from such systems may cause minor damage to structures or pose some risk to people conducting activities in the vicinity.”

This phenomenon is “extremely rare” in Singapore, MSS said, and the last-known sighting of a landspout was in September 2019 in Tuas.

While the service issues warnings of thunderstorms, MSS said it is not possible to specifically forecast the development of landspouts because they are “extremely difficult” to predict.

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Singapore , whirlwind , landspout

   

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