A low-intensity tornado that lasted some 20 minutes was spotted at Hong Kong International Airport on Friday, the first time the weather phenomenon has been observed in the city in 15 years.
The Hong Kong Observatory said the tornado appeared north of the airport at about 4.30pm.
Tam Hiu-ching, a scientific officer at the observatory, said there were no damage reports from the airport during the period. Tornadoes in Hong Kong tend to be associated with unstable weather during the rainy season from May to September.
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“The intensity of the tornado spotted [on Friday] was not too strong,” she said. “Tornadoes are rarely seen in Hong Kong … therefore damage is also not so common.”
Waterspouts – a type of fast-rotating vortex of water droplets linking the base of a convective cloud and the surface of the water below – were more common locally than tornadoes, Tam added, noting that could be because Hong Kong had more water than land.
The last time Hong Kong observed a tornado was in October 2005, while 2004 saw two tornadoes – one in May and one in September.
The September 2004 tornado was spotted to the south of the airport’s air traffic control tower, and lasted for a few minutes while a thunderstorm warning was in effect.
This article Small tornado spotted at Hong Kong airport in rare occurrence for the city, but no damage reported first appeared on South China Morning Post