Strong winds at Changi East construction site identified as extremely rare landspout

The last recorded sighting of a landspout here was in 2019.

Zoe Ern Yap | May 04, 2023, 11:18 AM

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On Apr. 30, several netizens posted videos of barricades and debris flying around a construction site in Changi East, describing it as a "tornado".

Thankfully, no one sustained any injuries and additional measures have been taken to improve the safety at the construction site.

In the comments of the videos, several netizens were divided as to whether the weather event was a landspout or a waterspout.

What is a landspout?

Mothership reached out to the Meteorological Society Singapore (MSS) under the National Environmental Agency (NEA), which confirmed that the phenomena recorded in the video was a landspout.

When the incident occurred on Apr. 30, MSS stated there were several thunderstorms observed at the eastern end of Singapore and on the offshore islands.

The landspout that affected the Changi East construction site possibly spawned off a thunderstorm that developed around Changi from approximately 11:10am.

According to the MSS, a landspout occurs when circulating air currents above a warm surface are sucked into the upward moving air of a developing thunderstorm cloud.

It usually has a lifespan of a few minutes, weakening quickly as the thunderstorm matures or dissipates.

The gusts may cause "minor damage to structures or pose some risk to people conducting activities in the vicinity".

"Extremely rare" phenomena

The MSS spokesperson said that landspouts were "extremely rare" in Singapore, with the last recorded sighting being in Tuas in September 2019.

The landspouts are "highly localised and rare in nature", and therefore "it is not possible to attribute climate change to their occurrences".

According to the MSS, although they are capable of issuing thunderstorm warnings, it is "extremely difficult" to predict and specifically forecast the occurrence of landspouts.

Images via Amin Aziz Random YouTube Video.