Tornado Sweeps Through West Sumatra, Injures 4

By webadmin on 11:46 pm Aug 31, 2009
Category Archive

Ronna Nirmala

West Sumatra’s capital was buffeted by storms and tornadoes on Sunday afternoon, causing tens of millions of rupiah in damages and leaving four people injured.

The storms hit Padang at about 3 p.m., registering maximum speeds of 15 knots, or about 28 kilometers per hour.

“At around 2 p.m. storm clouds were visible and that usually signals a tornado is coming,” said Romi Agusta, a meteorologist from the Meteorological and Geophysics Agency (BMG) in Padang, on Monday.

“The heavy rains started at 2:35 p.m., covering the whole of Padang, though with different wind speeds. The tornado hit at 4 p.m.,” he said.

Aswil, a spokesman for the Regional Disaster Management Agency, said the area worst affected by the tornado was the Air Caman district of East Parak Gadang in the city’s east.

“A large tree hit four houses with a total of 15 people inside,” he said.

“Four people were injured,” Aswil said, adding that the residents had received four tarpaulins from the disaster management agency. “The total losses are estimated to be up to tens of millions of rupiah.”

The tornado was not the first mjor natural disaster to hit West Sumatra’s in recent weeks. Padang also experienced at least 20 major aftershocks following a 6.9-magnitude earthquake that was centered 43 kilometers southeast of the city last month.

West Sumatra is a disaster-prone area due to the fact that it is located on a major fault line along the Indian Ocean coast known as the Sumatran fracture or semangka rift, which is where the Eurasian and Indo-Australian tectonic plates meet.

The Meteorological and Geophysics Agency also warned on Friday of the potential for unseasonal heavy rains and strong winds across the country over the weekend.