Wednesday June 20, 2007
Freak storm lashes Penang
PENANG: Unusually strong winds wreaked havoc in Penang and parts of Kedah yesterday, toppling trees, blowing off roofs, capsizing boats and forcing four flights to be diverted from the international airport in Bayan Lepas.
The winds peaked at 1.44pm at Bayan Lepas at 43 knots per hour while it reached 30 knots per hour at 12.45pm in Langkawi and 32 knots per hour at 12.38pm in Alor Star.
The normal wind speed at these places is between five and 20 knots per hour, according to the Meteorological Services Department.
Giant waves of up to 2m high hit the sea wall at the Esplanade in George Town before pounding onto cars parked along the road.
Some tiles and a metal railing along the sea wall were dislodged by the might of the waves.
A 10m stretch of the concrete path near the Astaka Medan Renong food court there was broken by the pounding waves.
At Pantai Bersih in Butterworth, fishermen said 3m-high waves caused more destruction than the 2004 tsunami, with 14 boats damaged compared to one during the tsunami.
Restaurant owner Tan Beng Gee, 45, said at least four of the five restaurants along the beach were damaged by the waves.
In Kedah, five fishermen from a boat that capsized 2km off Tanjung Dawai were rescued, while two more fishermen had to be rescued from a capsized fishing boat off Batu Ferringhi on Penang island.
An Indonesian construction worker broke his right arm when a tree branch fell on him along Jalan Batu Feringghi at about 2pm.
Among the worst-hit areas here was Sungai Dua, where strong winds brought down the roof of a restaurant and blew off part of the roofing of a block of flats and the roof of a police beat base.
Several houses in Balik Pulau, Bukit Gelugor and Jelutong were also damaged by the strong winds, according to Penang Social Welfare Department deputy director Chan Soak Fong.
Fallen trees were reported at Sungai Dua, Bayan Lepas, Paya Terubong, Air Itam, Gelugor, Farlim, Batu Gantung, Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Tokong, Bagan Ajam and Bagan Jermal.
Branches that fell on the road caused traffic jams along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Sungai Dua, Lorong Sungai Dua and Lengkok Nipah.
A spokesman at the Penang International Airport said flights that were scheduled to arrive between 1.30pm and 3pm were rerouted.
“Two Firefly carriers were diverted to the Subang airport, an AirAsia carrier was diverted to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and a Malaysia Airlines plane ended back at Langkawi because the winds prevented the aircrafts from landing,” he said.
State Meteorological Services Department director Loh Eng Kee said heavy rain was expected until midnight in the northern states of Perlis, Kedah and Penang.
The department had issued a warning that strong winds over the South China Sea was expected to last until tomorrow, causing rough seas with waves up to 3m high.
Tsunami's sign???? God alerting Penangites????
These pictures taken on 19th June around 3.30PM at Esplanade