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2006-09-30 11:33:08

Tornado Hits Airport in Nassau

A tornado touched down at the Lynden Pindling International Airport yesterday after unstable weather conditions caused the violently-rotating column of air to form.

Forecaster at the Met Office Wayne Neely said early yesterday afternoon, a pilot spotted the tornado that circled over the southeast portion of the airport and lasted for about two minutes. Mr Neely said a stationary front formed over New Providence causing yesterday's windstorm. He said while no one was injured as the tornado moved across New Providence, officials are warning pilots to keep an eye out for the possibly deadly funnels. "We want pilots to stay away from them," Mr Neely said. "But Air Traffic is responsible for alerting them of the situation and Air Traffic would let the pilots know to stay away from that area."

Mr Neely added there have been about two more tornadoes spotted in New Providence over the last two weeks. He said about two Saturdays ago, two tornadoes simultaneously formed over the airport. While one was less worrisome and came in the form of a thunder cloud, meteorologists in the area kept their eyes on the other which was a full-fledged tornado. "It's rare that you get [tornadoes] forming this kind of time," he said. "But it is possible that they form from a cumulus cloud. It's rare that you get them now, but it is a possibility that they do come and you get them generated here, especially in systems where there is a stationary front where there are two air masses of different temperature." Back in July, several people in Grand Bahama were reportedly injured when a windstorm hit during a donation ceremony. Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt, who was at the ceremony, spoke with media representatives at the Rand Memorial Hospital. Visibly shaken, she recalled the terrifying experience. "It was very scary," she said at the time. "Minister Obie Wilchombe, myself and Dr Bernard Nottage came down for this event, and about a minute after I finished speaking, the winds picked up and before I knew what was happening, I could see people just, I mean being picked up like paper."

The ministers were not injured but eight persons were transported to the hospital suffering from varying degrees of injuries, while several others were treated at the West End and Eight Mile Rock clinics. Two of the eight people treated at the hospital were listed as being in a serious condition.

By: IANTHIA SMITH, The Nassau Guardian

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