'Twister' leaves trail of damage


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 04 Aug 2004

BY STEPHEN THEN

MIRI: A tornado-like ‘twister’ blew off roofs, bent satellite dishes and dislodged metal fencing in a housing estate near the Sarawak-Brunei border. 

Residents in the Desa Pujut residential housing estate, some 10km from the Sarawak-Brunei trans-boundary bridge, had the shock of their lives at 1.30am yesterday, when their roofs “started flying all over the place”. 

Some 20 houses lying in the path of the 'twister' suffered varying degrees of damage, with six likely to require urgent repairs. 

Zamzam Munto said he was awakened by an extremely loud sound at 1.30am. 

“I heard a huge bang coming from the roof at the front of the house. I ran out and saw the car porch roof being lifted up and slammed down again. 

The 'twister' was so strong it caused a satellite dish to bend, besides dislodging awnings and slamming them onto the roof.

“I also heard a very loud whirling sound, like something twisting at a very fast speed and then the entire roof started to fly off. All my family members immediately rushed out of the house,” he said. 

The 28-year-old mechanic said he thought that something huge had fallen on top of his roof but then realised it was a strong wind because he could feel its force. 

“I could feel the effect of the wind even from ground level. A big chunk of our roof tiles were found more than 200 metres away,” he said adding that none of his family members were hurt. 

Zamzam said the whole incident was over in just a few minutes. 

“After the 'twister' left, it started to rain very heavily. I have been living here for the past three years and never experienced something like this,” he added. 

A check with the Sarawak Meteorological Services Department showed that northern Sarawak was lashed by winds of about 30kph on Tuesday night. 

Department head Loh Eng Kee, when contacted in Kuching, said: “Tornadoes do not occur in Malaysia as a matter of theory.  

However, there are certain types of cloud formations that can cause updraft and downdraft air currents that can create tornado-like effects. 

“Most of the time, they travel in a thin narrow path but the force can be very strong,” he explained.  

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