Editorial: Another ‘buhawe’?-A A +A
Monday, November 4, 2013
A “BUHAWE” or waterspout again hit Cebu last night, this time in near-shore areas of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities, damaging some structures there. When we wrote this, the weather bureau Pagasa had still to confirm if it was a waterspout that really hit those structures.
While witnesses claimed seeing the “buhawe,” the problem is that it hit at night, meaning in virtual darkness. But the extent of the damage can be studied if these are consistent with those done by waterspouts.
To recall, a “buhawe” also struck some near-shore villages of Talisay City (Pooc and Mohon) and Minglanila town (Tungkil and Calajo-an) last June, destroying or damaging several structures there.
The estimated time the recent “buhawe” struck was when the rain turned heavy and a thunderstorm was on. Which is consistent with how waterspouts form, as described by meteorologists.
A waterspout, according to the National Oceanic Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a “whirling column of air and water mist” and are “associated with severe thunderstorms.”
It is “often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning.”
One kind of waterspout is what the National Oceanic Service calls a “tornadic waterspout” that either forms over water or move from land to water and have “the same characteristics as a land tornado.”
In Metro Cebu, this is the first time that waterspouts occurred in a span of only around five months, one hitting the southern part and another hitting the northern part, although both areas are still near the Mactan Channel, a relatively big body of water.
This should be an occasion for Pagasa to look into what looks like a changed climactic situation in the Metro Cebu area. Are these rare occurrences or are we seeing a setup wherein every thunderstorm in the area has the potential of forming waterspouts in nearby bodies of water?
Does this necessitate the tracking of the formation of waterspouts and their movement? And does Pagasa have the instruments to do this?
The damage caused by last night’s “buhawe” or waterspout, if it really was really a “buhawe” or waterspout, seems to be more extensive than the one that hit Talisay City and Minglanilla town in June.
It does look like it is time to look deeply into the matter.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 05, 2013.