Categorized | National News

Tornado Damages LPIA

Winds of nearly 40 miles per hour swept through the main gateway of the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) leaving more than 10 rental cars and a Bahamasair aircraft seriously damaged.


The strong winds also uprooted the airport’s vegetation, and caused serious roof damage to the airport’s domestic parking lot pay booth.


Deputy Directory of the Department of Meteorology Basil Dean reported news of possible thunderstorm activity the day before the incident, but not to the likelihood of a tornado occurrence.


“The windy conditions were captured, the thunderstorms were captured, but as we all know with tornadoes they can form quite quickly from a thunderstorm cell and whenever you have thunderstorm cells present there is a possibility of tornadoes or water sprouts forming,” Mr. Dean said.


He reported that the department based its reports off of the damage at the airport.


“It could’ve been an F-0, and that is the lowest end of the tornado scale and that is based on some damage we observed in front of the terminal, namely some rental cars that were completely removed from its designated spot. And with a F-0 wind speeds are generally between 40 to70 miles per hour, with the movement of those vehicles it could’ve been an F-40,” he continued.


“When you look at the areas affected it was pretty isolated. It was confined to a very small area, making it less detectable. We expect some more showers developing later this afternoon. The front has not gone through as yet, that’s the prefrontal activity.”


Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis, who has cabinet responsibility for the national flag carrier, assured that Bahamasair’s damaged aircraft was insured and travelers were made aware for the benefit of their safety.


“There are protocols, protocols to be engaged when you have threats to the assets of Bahamasair. One expected is the warnings of a hurricane. For example, if a hurricane is approaching a particular stage of the warning then [Bahamasair pilots] will often fly the assets out a safe airport and keep them in a hanger, if there is space,” Mr. Davis said.


“The ATR 72 was damaged by the twister that it apparently lifted and then it just fell out of the air causing under belly, and could be gear damage.”


Mr. Davis said he and his family were up in the morning around 5:00 a.m., taking shelter, as their house shared in the devastation of the strong winds of the tornado yesterday.


“It was an amazing experience. I was getting myself ready for my morning walk, and it was like a big train just running into my home, and it occurred to me it must’ve been like a twister. A number of my pool furniture were swirling around and knocking up against the wall,” he said.


The Bahama Journal spoke with the National Airport Department’s (NAD) Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jan Knowles on the details of the airport’s condition.


“There was damage to several vehicles in LPIA’s parking facility, vegetation and the roof of the domestic parking lot pay booth suffered some damage.  Areas of the airport terminal lost power temporarily,” she said.


Ms. Knowles confirmed LPIA sustained cosmetic damage due to the strong weather but the airport’s operations were not impacted and passengers were able to check in and board their flights per usual.





Written by Jones Bahamas

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