Downbursts topple trees in Manila

Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A thunderstorm caused strong winds in Manila, toppling billboards and trees on Wednesday afternoon.

Netizens on Facebook posted videos of the incident, saying a tornado ripped through Manila.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration clarified that there were no tornadoes that struck Metro Manila on Wednesday.

Manila disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) office meteorologist Christian John Evangelista said the weather phenomenon was a downburst, described as a “sudden, strong downward blast of air, usually from a thundercloud.”

“Downbursts are often mistaken for tornadoes because of strong winds. But the difference is, tornadoes cover a smaller area while downbursts span a larger area,” Evangelista said.

The Manila DRRM office said the downburst lasted 30 minutes to an hour at past 5 p.m.

Trees were toppled in the following areas: Juan Luna, San Lazaro Hospital and Abad Santos Avenue.

The city government conducted operations yesterday to clear the toppled trees and repair the damaged billboards.

Evangelista said residents should take shelter from flying debris and lightning strikes during thunderstorms.


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