Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Freak storm lashed Penang

Penang is the name of a small island located on the north-west coast of peninsular Malaysia in the Straits of Malacca. According to the Wikipedia, this island was referred to as 檳榔嶼 (Bīnláng Yù) in the navigational drawings used by Admiral Cheng Ho of Ming-dynasty China in his expeditions to the South Seas in the 15th century. I think I have heard about the 檳榔嶼 a long time ago when I was still in elementary school. I have never been there, but it seems always carrying much romantic fantasy for me whenever I heard it.

Penang is in the news today because they were lashed by an unusually strong storm yesterday of damaging wind and waves were "toppling trees, blowing off roofs, capsizing boats and forcing four flights to be diverted . . ." as this news article reported:

"Giant waves of up to 2m high hit the sea wall at the Esplanade in George Town before pounding onto cars parked along the road.

"Some tiles and a metal railing along the sea wall were dislodged by the might of the waves.

"A 10m stretch of the concrete path near the Astaka Medan Renong food court there was broken by the pounding waves.

"At Pantai Bersih in Butterworth, fishermen said 3m-high waves caused more destruction than the 2004 tsunami, with 14 boats damaged compared to one during the tsunami.

"Restaurant owner Tan Beng Gee, 45, said at least four of the five restaurants along the beach were damaged by the waves."

These damaging waves are certainly not of the freaque type. But they were devastating nevertheless. Here are tow pictures:

The above shows the fishing boats are at the mercy of the on coming giant wave. And the following shows what happened to a once smooth concrete walkway after the waves lashing.

We don't have to go all the way to southeast Asia to realize the kinds of damages wind waves can cause -- it's not even a freaque wave. Our vulnerability to hazard and perils just can not be over emphasized!

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