TORNADO. A strong, rotating column of wind during a heavy downpour in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao del Sur province, damaged homes and business establishments on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 8, 2022). At least 20 structures were damaged during the 15-minute weather disturbance. (Photo courtesy of Jacky Adatu Facebook account)

DATU ODIN, Maguindanao del Norte – A sudden downpour coupled with strong winds damaged over 20 houses, business establishments, and electric posts in Ampatuan town in this province on Tuesday afternoon.

“The heavy rain and strong wind lasted only for about 15 minutes but homes and stores were damaged,” said Rodel Abayon, a resident of neighboring Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat province, in a radio interview on Wednesday.

Abayon was in Barangay Kauran of Ampatuan town at the time of the weather disturbance.

“It was so strong that even electric posts were toppled,” he said of the incident around 4:30 p.m.

In a separate interview, Chino Sangkal, a passenger van driver plying the Cotabato-Maguindanao-Sultan Kudarat route, said he saw galvanized steel roof sheets blown away as strong winds battered the town’s commercial district.

 “I even feared that the strong wind could push my Toyota Hi-Ace van while parked at the roadside,” he said.  

Many residents believed the village had been hit by a “freak tornado,” noting the rotating column of air that blew away everything in its path.

Sangcal said the rain was over in 15 minutes and people came out of their homes to witness the devastation.

Nash Imam, head of Maguindanao provincial disaster risk reduction and management council (PDRRM), said evaluation is ongoing. (PNA)