Houses, stalls damaged in thunderstorm in Sandakan

KOTA KINABALU: Several houses and food stalls at a Ramadan bazaar in Sandakan district were damaged during a thunderstorm on Saturday evening (April 9).

Among the areas affected were Kg Tinusa 2 and Kampung Gum-Gum.

There were no reports of injuries from the thunderstorm, which started around 5.20pm.

According to social media users, some experienced a brief hail storm during the downpour.

However, the Meteorological Department did not detect such an incident.

Its director Amir Zudi Hashim said based on the radar image, rain clouds and thunderstorms hit Sandakan at about 5pm.

“However, our radar did not detect any incidences of hailstorms,” he said when contacted.

He however explained that even if there were such incidents, they were not abnormal.

Amir said that ice drops or hail storms occur during thunderstorms together with strong winds where ice is formed inside the cumulonimbus clouds.

“These ice drops that form inside the clouds do not have enough time to melt, so they fall as marble-sized ice cubes,” he said.

He said such a phenomenon was normal in Malaysia.

The thunderstorms and strong winds are expected to occur over Sabah and Labuan over the next few days.