Tornado in Sandys? Try gustnado, says expert

The swirling wind that wreaked havoc in White Hill on Wednesday, ripping the roofs off several homes, was not a tornado but a phenomenon known to meteorologists as a ?gustnado.?

That was the verdict of Director of the Bermuda Weather Service, Roger Williams, after he evaluated the scene in the Woodlawn Road area yesterday.


The swirling wind that wreaked havoc in White Hill on Wednesday, ripping the roofs off several homes, was not a tornado but a phenomenon known to meteorologists as a ?gustnado.?

That was the verdict of Director of the Bermuda Weather Service, Roger Williams, after he evaluated the scene in the Woodlawn Road area yesterday.

?A gustnado is not a full-blown tornado like you get in the USA,? he said, explaining that a gustnado usually forms in association with a squall-line of strong winds.

Noting how one resident reported seeing a water spout come in off the sea and another reported rotating winds, he continued: ?What sometimes happens is that you get a small disturbance on these gust fronts which starts rotating.

?This came into the area in more or less a straight line and a narrow line.

?Some houses along the path escaped ? it?s as if it touched down and bounced off.?

Mr. Williams believes that gusts of up to 80 knots may have been experienced along the path of the gustnado, which travelled roughly west to east, coming in just after 2 p.m from the beach near Phillpott?s Hill Drive.

?These are very small-scale features and you would not be able to predict them as they would not show up on a radar,? he said, explaining that they do occur in Bermuda occasionally, such as last winter near the Southampton Princess hotel. Meanwhile, the insurance industry has been left counting the cost of the event which left six homes without roofs.

Three of these properties are insured through BF&M which has predicted that the total bill will be around $30,000.

?Contractors have been on-site to calculate quotes, which will go to the insurers, and as soon as an estimate is chosen and assuming the weather remains good, the work should be completed within a week,? said Ross Hillen, vice president of underwriting and claims.

?This type of phenomenon is not particularly unusual in Bermuda, which is one of the reasons people buy insurance.?

  • Take Our Poll

    • "What are your views on anonymous online commenting (trolling)?"
    • Helpful to our democracy and needs to continue
    • 25%
    • Hurtful to our democracy and needs to end
    • 59%
    • Limits the number of people willing to give public service
    • 10%
    • An important tool for political parties
    • 6%
    • Total Votes: 4508
    • Poll Archive

    Today's Obituaries

    eMoo Posts