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Tornado uproots trees, damages buildings

  • A tornado touched down on New Providence Wednesday

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Jun 15, 2011

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A tornado tore through Southern New Providence yesterday afternoon, snapping limbs and causing minor damage to homes and power lines. Meteorological office officials said “it was a pretty big one.”

Deputy Director of the Department of Meteorology Basil Dean said Wednesday’s tornado spawned from a system that developed in the Southern Bahamas and was on the ground for almost a half hour.

“We had no reports of hail but we got a few phone calls that indicated that a tornado did touch down,” Dean said.
“Once you have a funnel cloud and it touches the ground, that constitutes a tornado.

“It lasted for about 30 minutess from the time I sighted it. It was a pretty big one from my vantage point.

“It was confined to a relatively small area and good thing it was stationary for the most part.”

Neither the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) nor the Royal Bahamas Police Force received reports of injuries due to the tornado, according to a Report from NEMA.

“Assessment teams from NEMA went to some of the locations and observed that several trees had snapped and fallen in the streets in the Malcolm Road, East Street area,” he said.

“However, there were no reports of injuries to residents or damage to properties. The Royal Bahamas Police control room received no report of any damage or injuries to persons as a result of the weather system.

Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell said there were unconfirmed reports that the front door to a South Beach home was blown down by the strong wind.

Tornadoes, which appear over land, are rarely seen in the Bahamas, while waterspouts, which develop over water, appear much more frequently.

One such water spout moved onto land in Grand Bahama last year killing three workers at the Freeport Container Port.

Malcolm Allotment resident, Hewette Miller said that while standing outside her home she watched the tornado pick up debris and toss it through the air. Just outside her home the wind snapped a large branch from an Almond tree.

“I saw people’s roof tops coming up,” she said. “I saw the debris spinning in the tornado.”
Another Malcolm Allotment resident, Ronald Adderley, said he was on a roof top when he noticed the funnel cloud spinning almost 1,000 feet away.

“I just saw in the distance the clouds just spinning and it started to come as if it was ready to touch the ground,” he said. “After that I said it’s time to pack up and roll.”

Dean said the usual afternoon convection coupled with high temperatures and light winds caused the isolated cell, which also had the ability to produce dangerous lightening and hail, to form over Southeastern New Providence.

The Meteorological office issued a severe weather warning for New Providence from 1:20 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. yesterday and a similar warning for Central Andros and the surrounding waters from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Dean said both isolated cells dissipated fairly quickly.

Utility workers were out only minutes after the tornado passed to repair phone and electricity lines.

Facebook teemed with mobile phone video and photos of the passing tornado.

The Nassau Guardian was on the scene when the tornado raced across Baillou Hill Road South moving Southwest.
Miller contended the swiftly passing tornado was not all bad. “It knocked down all our mangoes – that’s a good thing,” she said.

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