A “cloudburst” and not a tornado as earlier reported by local government authorities destroyed six houses and several commercial establishments in Narra town Saturday afternoon, the local office of the state weather agency said.
Sonny Pajarilla, the local head of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said there were squall lines or series of thunderstorms that caused an intensified rainfall.
“Hindi tornado ‘yon. Kung tornado, dapat ay may tinatawag kang vortex, nakikita mo talaga na may umiikot at nagto-touch sa ground na parang trumpo. Pero dito sa Narra, walang ebidensya na maipapakita na doon mismo sa ground. Base sa karanasan natin, ang nangyari ay tinatawag natin na cloudburst. Nagdudulot ng dagliang malakas na hangin umaabot ng 75 to approximately 100 kilometers per hour (kph),” Pajarilla pointed out on Monday.
He said cloudburst is when there is an extreme amount of rainwater that clouds dump with blasts of wind.
The wind will rush down due to frictional drag, he said.
He added that the rising wind, which is warmer from the ocean and the cold wind from the top of the clouds, will then meet and swirl.
“May hangin ka paangat, warmer ‘yon galing sa dagat. May hangin ka ngayon na malamig, galing dito sa tuktok ng ulap, magpapanalubong yong hangin na bumababang malamig at yong mainit, magkakaroon ngayon ng swirl, itong ikot na yon ang nararamdaman na biglang bumubulusok, ito yon ngayon ang nagpapaikot,” he added.
The swirling wind can last for two to five minutes before it will stabilize in the atmosphere.
Pajarilla also said that the weather occurrence in Narra on Saturday was an intensified swirl of the wind caused by a cloudburst that has the potential to uproot small trees, break branches, posts and unroof houses made of light materials.
A report from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office of Narra said that the said ‘tornado’ descended from the mountain, hitting Upper Lapu-Lapu before going through the Palawan State University- College of Community Resources Development (PSU-CCRD) Narra Campus and hit the Municipal Police Station and Barangay Malatgao.
Aside from the damaged houses and several commercial establishments, there were no reported injuries.