SINGAPORE: A bewildering natural phenomenon, initially perceived as a “tornado,” left witnesses in the Tuas area astounded on Monday (16 Oct). The awe-inspiring column of air, which appears to be a waterspout rather than a tornado or cyclone, caused quite a stir as it moved across the landscape, pulling approximately 100 kilograms of objects on land for 20 to 30 metres.

One eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, told Channel 8 news that the incident unfolded around 9:05am while working in the Tuas Port area. He observed the clouds hanging ominously low in the sky, followed by the sudden manifestation of a whirlwind on the ground. Dust began to swirl, coalescing into the shape of a tornado.

“I have worked here for more than 20 years, and I have seen ‘tornadoes’ before, but they were relatively small. This is the first time I have seen such a big ‘tornado,” the witness said.

As the mysterious vortex materialized, it sent shockwaves through the onlookers, who swiftly retreated from the scene. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.

The eyewitness noted that this enigmatic “tornado” persisted for approximately 15 minutes, during which it exhibited astonishing strength, lifting large pieces of debris into the air.

Following its dramatic appearance on land, the “tornado” transitioned towards the water before dispersing. After it dissipated, the region briefly experienced a bout of strong winds and heavy rainfall.

Tornadoes are unlikely in Singapore, which is geographically situated close to the equator, and the phenomenon in the Tuas area was more likely a waterspout or a landspout rather than a true tornado.

A waterspout is a type of vortex that forms over a body of water and extends to the surface. In contrast, a landspout, which shares similarities with waterspouts, typically forms over land. Both phenomena are less intense than traditional tornadoes.