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Tornado in Chek Lap Kok

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Tornado at Chek Lap Kok

Chan Kin-yu

A small tornado occurred at Chek Lap Kok at about 4:20 p.m. on 25 September, lasting about 20 minutes. This happened as an easterly airstream arrived at Hong Kong International Airport, and converged with the prevailing westerly wind, producing a vortex that formed a tornado.

The aviation weather observer saw the tornado and immediately informed air traffic controllers. Fortunately, airport operations were not affected and no injuries were reported. The event was also recorded by the Observatory’s camera at the airport and LIDAR (Figure 1):

Figure 1: The moment the tornado appeared at Hong Kong Internatinal Airport captured by the camera (left) and LIDAR (right)

Figure 1: The moment the tornado appeared at Hong Kong Internatinal Airport captured by the camera (left) and LIDAR (right)

Tornadoes are uncommon in Hong Kong. According to the Observatory’s records, they mainly occur together with thunderstorms in May (Figure 2):

Figure 2: Total monthly cases of tornadoes recorded in Hong Kong (1982 - October 2020)

Figure 2: Total monthly cases of tornadoes recorded in Hong Kong (1982 - October 2020)