22 January 2019

Uganda: Panic As Tornado Hits Lake Bunyonyi

Residents in areas neighbouring Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale District on Monday witnessed a rare phenomenon, when a cyclonic storm snaked into the lake from the sky.

Many went into a panic when the funnel-shaped white smock descended and covered the skies for several minutes.

According to scientists, the phenomenon is caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area. It is usually accompanied by violent storms and severe weather conditions.

By Monday evening, several videos and photos of the incident were being shared on WhatsApp.

Mr Moses Banyenzaki who owns an engine canoe at Harutinda Landing Site said the landfall came after a heavy downpour characterized by lightning and thunderstorms at around 4pm on Monday.

The site, comprising white smoke snaking from the sky into the lake was visible in parts of Kabale and Rubanda districts.

According to residents, the violent windstorm touched down in the lake near Natures Prime Island in Bubaare Sub County, Rubanda District.

Mr Banyenzaki said the situation forced all the canoes which had been docked at Harutinda to float adding that even though it sent residents into a panic, it did not cause any damage.

Mr Phillip Byarugaba, a resident from Mugyera in Bufundi Sub County, Rubanda District said the spectacle lasted more than 30 minutes.

Byarugaba said most of the locals braved the rain running up the hills while others who had motorcycles and vehicles had to run to Kabale town fearing for their lives.

Mr Didas Kyarikora alias Swansea, another resident of Mugyera in Bufundi Sub county, Rubanda district sais although he saw a cloud of white smoke, he could not figure out what it was. However, he added that an elder informed him that it was a tornado hitting in the lake.

"Up to now, all locals are in fear," he said.

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