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Found 13 results

  1. Here is a video showing the waterspout spinning a small ship around.
  2. The Straits Times May 26, 2007 A towering sight off the east coast By Andrea Ong THOUSANDS of people from the city centre to Changi were transfixed yesterday afternoon as a large water spout appeared off the east coast. The water funnel rose majestically from the sea, and sent people scrambling for their cameras and cellphones. In fact, the water spout broke all previous records for reader reaction at The Straits Times' online portal Stomp, with 150 SMSes, MMSes and e-mails streaming in within 10 minutes. In all, Stomp received more than 500 images and videos from readers, who used various terms to describe the phenomenon: a tornado, cyclone, hurricane and even 'a finger of God'. The spout was large enough to be spotted from Marina Bay, Shenton Way, Kallang, Bedok, the East Coast and even at Changi. Staff at Equinox Restaurant - atop the 226m-tall Swissotel The Stamford hotel - were amazed by its size. Its manager, Mr Mutto Kawary, 30, said the huge column seemed like it was more than twice the hotel's height. The National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement that the spout appeared at about 2.30pm off Marine Parade and lasted about 30 minutes. Mr Benjamin Li, 24, said he saw an aircraft in its vicinity and feared for the plane's safety. The account executive was in his 31st-storey office in Springleaf Tower in Anson Road. 'Everyone went quiet,' he said. The plane emerged unscathed. Water spouts appear when a type of cloud, cumuliform, forms during thunderstorms, creating low-pressure pockets. A column of water is then sucked up towards the base of the cloud. The NEA said water spouts are common in tropical waters and there are usually one or two sightings off Singapore in a year. The last spout was seen in August last year. Spouts seem to dissipate fairly quickly. While they can pose a threat to small boats in the water, they usually weaken and vanish when they come nearer to shore.
  3. Hi, for those interested, I have updated my waterspout entry with a radar image of the thunderstorm producing the waterspout. Here is a series of radar images of the squall line that affected the island on 30 April, which our Finnish forecaster was referring to (see my earlier post on 20 May). The gust front is quite distinct. We had an unusually large number of squall lines on consecutive days this April. April is the transition period between our two monsoons (northeast monsoon and southwest monsoon). We normally get the squall lines during the southwest monsoon period, but we can also get them at other times of the year, whenever our winds change to westerlies/southwesterlies. I must apologise for the quality of the radar images - they've been showing a lot of noise/interference. I think we should consider upgrading our radar soon, it's getting on in age ...
  4. We had a flurry of calls from the police, civil defence and the public today, because a distinct waterspout was sighted off the southeastern coast of the island. Our radar showed that the weather system producing it was just a small thunderstorm. Which goes to show that you don't need a large and impressive thunderstorm to produce an impressive waterspout. What is as amazing as the waterspout is the speed at which news travels nowadays. Practically everyone on this island has a cellphone with a camera in it, and photos were soon being sent to our office and the media. An hour later the local online news websites I checked (Channel Newsasia and the Straits Times) both featured the phenomenon. I managed to get this nice series of photos from a colleague, which seems to show the waterspout dissipating.
  5. Dec 20, 2006 24 hours of rain mayhem Floods and landslides hit island Fallen trees hold up traffic SINGAPORE was lashed by the third-largest deluge of rain in recorded history yesterday, causing heavy flooding in parts of the island, bringing down trees and triggering landslides. The rain was most intense over the northern and central parts of the island, where flooding affected at least four locations. Vehicles were diverted from several traffic junctions, which had been rendered impassable by the rising waters. Off Olive Road, the water was waist-deep, submerging nurseries along Thomson Road and paralysing cars, vans and lorries. According to the Public Utilities Board (PUB), there was 'spillage' at the nearby MacRitchie Reservoir and at Upper Seletar Reservoir. Landslides were reported in two places: along Mandai Road and Bukit Batok West Avenue 2. High water was not the only reason for the traffic woes. A tree fell along Alexandra Road opposite Ikea, blocking three lanes. On Monday night, a tall tree had toppled and smashed through the windows of four flats at a housing block in Joo Seng Road and also damaging a concrete window ledge. Yesterday, Marine Parade Town Council said it was unsure whether the tree had been struck by lightning or had fallen due to strong winds during the thunderstorm. It is deciding whether to remove three other trees on the same slope. Aside from the havoc and damage to property, at press time there were no official reports of any deaths or injuries resulting from the rain. The only accidents so far have been minor, resulting from mishaps such as people falling into submerged drains. The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it had been called in to rescue three employees from an office building along Upper Thomson Road yesterday afternoon, after the flood prevented them from opening a main gate. Firefighters had to cut a hole in the side fence to let them out. PUB said yesterday's rainfall was the third-highest recorded in Singapore in the last 75 years. Over a 20-hour period until 8 pm, the highest total rainfall was 345mm, recorded in Yio Chu Kang. This figure far surpasses the entire monthly average for December, which is 284.4mm. The highest rainfall recorded in Singapore over 24 hours was 512.4mm in 1978, which resulted in the worst flooding in recent history. The second highest was 467mm, in 1969. The National Environment Agency (NEA) said the heavy rain was caused by the north-east monsoon, which started in early December. During the season, there are sudden surges in the north-east winds, which carry a lot of moisture. They usually last two to seven days. When heavy rain coincides with high tide, flash floods can result in low-lying areas. The water level in drains and canals becomes so high that the water cannot be drained off quickly enough, causing floods to occur. This is what happened at a kampung in low-lying Lorong Buangkok yesterday. Water started rising around the wooden home of 60-year-old housewife Habsah Rohe at around dawn. She frantically took her carpets off the floor and dumped her laundry on her bed. Within two hours, the water was up to her knees. 'What a back-breaking task scooping water out of the house,' she said with a sigh. She may have to get used to it. Wet weather with occasional heavy showers is expected for the rest of the week. The NEA's meteorological services division says the wet spell is expected to improve gradually.
  6. A Von Karman vortex street caused by the airflow over the island of Jan Mayen in the Greenland Sea : Such vortices can be seen in many other places; these trails off Alaska's Aleutian Islands are even more spectacular : I must confess I have a soft spot for the Jan Mayen vortices, though, because Jan Mayen was where I first heard of the phenomenon ... the book Spacious Skies had several photos of them. I find them amazing - never realised such regular & intricate cloud patterns existed. :lol: Spacious Skies began that section by saying, "Jan Mayen is one of the most interesting islands in the world ..." It is a little-known Norwegian-administered island, 600 km north of Iceland, hosting the northernmost active volcano (Beerenburg) on earth, & covered with a great glacier. It is uninhabited except for a rotating crew of 18 people, manning the LORAN and meteorological stations (Info taken from this site). Some other Von Karman vortex links : About Von Karman vortex streets Von Karman vortices in other locations SPACE.com article
  7. Tropical Storm "Greg" (43W) was an unusual weather system in that tropical cyclones (TCs) seldom occur at latitudes low enough to affect Malaysia. The country is divided into West Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia) and East Malaysia (consisting of the states of Sabah & Sarawak). GMS IR image at 240400Z. 2 hours later, the JTWC upgraded the cloud cluster to Tropical Depression status "Greg" was first observed as a cloud cluster that developed on the night of 20 Dec 1996, over the South China Sea to the northeast of East Malaysia. Cloud clusters are a common feature in this area during the Northeast Monsoon, but this one proved to be unusually long-lived, with convective development enhanced by low-level convergence between westerly winds and northeasterly monsoonal flow. On 240600Z the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) assigned it tropical depression status. Winds to the north of the system continued to be enhanced by the northeasterly monsoon, so that by 250000Z tropical storm intensity had been reached. The storm's movement was unusual : it began tracking east-southeast toward the East Malaysian coast. "Greg" affecting Sabah on Christmas night. “Greg” moved into Sabah at around 251600Z (Christmas night), depositing heavy rains that triggered floods and caused rivers to overflow their banks. Powerlines were downed, water supplies disrupted and road and communication links washed out. The storm affected a total of 17000 people from 226 villages along Sabah’s west coast. At least 163 people died, most of them migrant workers. The sad thing about these workers is that many had entered the country illegally from Indonesia & were never accounted for. Another 3000 were left homeless. Post-analysis from JTWC 1996 Pacific Typhoon Season Summary : Greg's east-southeastward motion was very unusual. TCs which form within (or move into) the South China Sea late in the year are often blocked from moving west by well-established northeasterly monsoon flow. Such TCs often remain quasi-stationary or move southwestward and dissipate. 242330Z Dec GMS imagery showing five tropical cyclones : Greg (G), Fern (FN), Ophelia (OP), Phil (P) and Fergus (FG) lying within twin monsoon troughs Greg formed in the South China Sea when an unusual large-scale wind pattern dominated the region : During the second half of Dec 1996, twin low-latitude monsoon troughs became established between approx 100 deg E and 170 deg E, one trough north and the other south of the equator, and a belt of low-level westerly winds existed in equatorial latitudes between them. A total of five tropical cyclones - two in the northern hemisphere and three in the southern hemisphere - were formed within these monsoon troughs. It is hypothesized that the strong westerly winds to the south of Greg provided the flow asymmetry responsible for its eastward motion. This factor plus the existence of the large circulation of Fern (42W) to Greg's northeast were cited as possible sources of the east-southeast movement of Greg.
  8. A multicell thunderstorm that occurred some time ago, recorded with the weather radar at Paya Lebar Airbase. The second cell can be seen forming after the first has dissipated.
  9. I came across these photos as I was looking through some of my old files. Not sure where they came from, but this is quite a nice water spout. That's one of our container terminals in the foreground, possibly Tanjong Pagar.
  10. Ask a weather watcher what his/her favourite weather is, & the popular answers are usually thunderstorms/hurricanes/tornadoes. Either that or it would be sunny weather, or snow. But since the atmosphere produces a host of other phenomena as well, I always find it interesting to discover those that are less well-known. I first heard of the polar low from one of my lecturers in Reading, Dr George Craig. He was from Toronto, and had studied the convective processes in polar lows for his PhD. This was new to me because at the time I associated convection with warmer places like the tropics. There's a nice little writeup on polar lows from Wikipedia. MetEd also has a nice section on Polar Low Forecasting.
  11. We had a fairly typical "Sumatra" on 15 Aug. "Sumatra" is a nickname for a squall line that often forms over the Indonesian land mass of Sumatra & then moves over the Malacca Straits to affect Singapore and Malaysia. This particular Sumatra seems to have started organising itself just before affecting Singapore. "Sumatras" often affect us during the night, between 3am and 6am; one can see a line of echoes on the radar steadily making its way eastward. If there's no bad weather around we can usually get a bit of rest during night shifts between 11pm and 3am, but if you're expecting a "Sumatra" then you can forget about getting any rest because you have to keep monitoring it. Sometimes the squall line weakens and dissipates upon moving over land, but the stronger ones will continue moving eastward out into the South China Sea. This one has reorganised into quite a distinct line but looks as if it's weakening as it moves out to the sea area. Sumatras are one of our more intense weather systems & usually occur during the Southwest Monsoon, but we can actually get them any time the steering level winds change to southwesterlies. They bring strong gusts & heavy rain, & spectacular lightning & thunder. They can move in during the day instead, & we usually refer to these as "late Sumatras". Once you know one is coming in, then forecasting is standard. You can usually estimate what time it'll arrive & get as much of your routine work done as possible plus get all the warnings ready. I remember nights at home hearing the onset of one. You can hear the wind picking up & the tinkle of flowerpots falling & doors slamming. One colleague joked that it sounded like a typhoon coming. It can often be seen approaching in the early morning too, a line of cumulonimbus moving in from the west, the cloud tops pink or gold in early morning sunlight. A schoolteacher called one morning, sounding worried because she & her students had seen one. She quavered, "Oh ... is it ... is it a front approaching?" She was probably a geography teacher & her students must have been asking her about it. Of course the squall line often just misses Singapore, passing to the north over Malaysia or to the south instead. Sometimes if the steering winds are northwesterlies, the radar will show a line of echoes moving down the Malacca Straits, only affecting the western or southern parts of the island. A colleague was once annoyed because his Sumatra seemed to be heading for Singapore dead on, but just before hitting the island, suddenly divided into two. One part went north, while the other passed south of us, & after skipping the island it actually merged back into one and moved out into the South China Sea! He couldn't believe his eyes; he had gotten all his warnings ready & been forecasting strong winds & rain for nothing. He was convinced the squall line had done it on purpose to spite him! Well, that's the nature of forecasting.
  12. A water spout was spotted off Sentosa's Siloso Beach on 14 Aug, according to an article in the local newspaper, The Straits Times. In the article, "A Sentosa spokesman said such waterspouts are common but they never occur on the island. 'Usually, they are very far away but can be seen from Sentosa. They don't last long,' he added." Unfortunately I don't have access to that day's radar pictures (only the last two hours are available online) or we would be able to have a look at the weather system producing the water spout. The spokesman said waterspouts are common; how often does "common" mean? From past reports, we seem to get about 2-3 sightings per year. In over 10 years of working at the Met. Service, I have only seen "funnel cloud" (FC) reported once on our METAR while I was on duty. Pat encountered an FC once while on shift too, she said the control tower called the office because it looked as if it was approaching them & they were quite alarmed. On another occasion, D & I were driving over the flyover next to the airport when D suddenly spotted a funnel cloud forming in the distance just in front of us. We stopped the car a little further down, along East Coast Park, to watch. It was a very distinct funnel, snaking downward from the cloud but not reaching the sea surface. It looked quite menacing. It's one thing to watch these on tv or look at photos of them, but I can attest that it was quite eerie to be actually standing there with the water spout not too far away. What if it started moving toward us? It lasted about 5-10 minutes & then dissipated. Unfortunately we didn't have a camera. Well, maybe next time.
  13. LENTICULAR CLOUDS These are stationary lens-shaped clouds that are sometimes mistaken for UFOs because of their smooth saucer-like shape. Where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the downwind side. Lenticular clouds sometimes form at the crests of these waves. Unfortunately we don't see these in Singapore because there are no high mountains nearby. I once did see some lens-shaped clouds while driving home from Tengah Airbase, though. I was driving at the time & didn't have a camera with me, but I just couldn't take my eyes off them. We do have some hills here & it is possible that the airflow over the hills may have produced those clouds. I saw some lovely cloud formations when I was in NZ South Island. I think they are a truly unique & spectacular phenomenon. It's a pity I can't see them in real life more often. PILEUS, OR CAP CLOUDS A layer of cloud sometimes seen capping a cumulus cloud. The pileus layer forms when the cumulus cloud pushes a moist layer of air above it upwards, causing condensation in this layer. Eventually, the cumulus will grow into and penetrate the pileus cloud, after which the pileus may remain as a cloud skirt around the cumulus. I have often seen these in Singapore. I get a kick out of spotting them, because they are transient & elusive. They are usually observed over towering cumulus clouds.
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