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What a sight in Beaufort!
Published on: Tuesday, June 28, 2016
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Kota Kinabalu: Residents in Beaufort were treated to a rare sight Monday morning of "roll cloud" that left many confused and amazed. Some found the unique cloud formation scary. Videos and photos of the cloud went viral over social media, showing it appearing to hover over the community (top and below).

The cloud appeared in the shape of a long tube in a low-lying formation, stretching out over certain parts of Beaufort town.

Some residents here who received the photos noted a similar sighting in Kota Kinabalu in 2012.

Beaufort district police chief Deputy Supt Azmir Abdul Razak said that the clouds, which looked like big plumes, were seen at about 7.30am and brought heavy rain to the district.

"It was seen for about an hour, when it was raining heavily," he said, adding that the public were curious, but did not panic.

"Everyone was more worried about the heavy rain and hoping it would not flood," he said.

The clouds were believed to have dissipated by 9am.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, in a statement, said the phenomenon is called a squall which came along with a roll cloud.

"Rolling cloud is mild compared to the roll cloud which occurred in Kota Kinabalu in August 2012, Sungai Petani in Kedah in 2014 and Kota Bharu in August 2015," he said.

"A squall is a group of aligned thunderstorm clouds heading to the sea or land that usually happens during the Southwest monsoon from June till September in the West Coast of Sabah and also Malacca Straits."

"The length of the clouds could reach hundreds of kilometres and can last for hours during regular thunderstorms.

"And the squall can generate winds of up to 32km per hour, causing widespread heavy rain," said Tangau.

The Meteorological Department earlier warned of thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds occurring over the Sabah and Labuan hours before the rolling cloud was spotted in Beaufort.


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