THE tornado that hit Metro Cebu last Monday evening originated in northern Bohol before crossing the sea and striking coastal areas in cities of Mandaue, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Danao and the towns of Compostela and Carmen.
It occured during a thunderstorm caused by tropical depression “Wilma,” the Mactan office of the state weather bureau Pagasa confirmed yesterday.
“Yesterday’s (tornado) originated from a body of water and traveled from northern Bohol to Cebu so it can be called a waterspout or tornado that forms over bodies of water like oceans, rivers and lakes, said weather analyst Alfredo Quiblat, OIC of Pagasa Cebu station.
“It generated winds of up to 80 kilometers per hour. It’s like a tropical storm but covers a limited area.”
Pagasa Visayas chief Oscar Tabada said the waterspout and severe thunderstorms on Monday were caused by typhoon “Wilma.”
Tabada, who attended an emergency meeting of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said “Wilma” weakened into a low pressure area as it made landfall in Surigao del Sur and then moved to Bohol.
“But Wilma was strong enough to drag comulu-nimbus clouds that caused the thunderstorms and the waterspout,” he said.
“Even if we already lifted storm signals in Cebu and other parts of the Philippines, it doesn’t mean that we would no longer experience heavy rains and others,” Tabada added.
Quiblat said a waterspout locally known as “buhawi” doesn't necessarily carry water as it makes landfall.
“A tornado is a violently rotating wind that overhangs from cumulonimbus clouds which are othersie known as thunderstorm clouds,” said Quiblat.
He said a waterspout is technically defined as a tornado, albeit one that originates from the water and moves to land.
Pagasa recorded 7mm of rain in last Monday evening’s thunderstorm.
Quiblat said Cebu experienced five tornadoes this year.
Quiblat said a thunderstorm doesn’t only cause rains but also brings tornado-like winds and even hailstones.
Pagasa issued a thunderstorm warning signal over Metro Cebu, Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, Toledo City, Balamban, and Asturias two hours before the waterspout hit.
The waterspout then headed towards Olango island, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Cebu City down to other areas with sustained winds of 80 kph.
Tabada said a tornado also hit Dulag, Leyte Monday evening with 200kph winds, causing extensive property damage.
Fortunately, Tabada said tornadoes have a short life span and eventu dissipate. /Marian Z. Codilla, Senior Reporter with Correspondents Fe Marie Dumaboc, Christine Emily L. Pantaleon and Chito Aragon