GEORGE TOWN: A rare waterspout damaged at least 50 houses in the town of Tanjung Tokong in the Malaysian state of Penang on Monday (Apr 1).
The spout was seen spinning near Tanjung Tokong's shores for about five minutes before it briefly arrived on land.
It ripped off the roofs of some houses and fell several trees at about 1.35pm, said a Penang Civil Defence Force spokesman, adding that there were no injuries reported.
"We are currently busy clearing the debris from houses which were ripped off by the storm,’’ the spokesman told reporters.
Residents took to social media to share images of their close encounter with the waterspout. Zinc roofs were seen being blown off some buildings.
Resident Nona Khalid, 75, said she was waiting for her two grandchildren to return home from school when the storm suddenly hit and she saw the waterspout approaching her house.
"The sound of the wind was deafening and I saw part of the roof of my house being flown away by the wind ... indeed it was very scary and took place for the first time in the 50 years I have been staying here," she said.
Fried banana trader, 52-year-old Zaleha Mat Zain, said she managed to run to the mosque area and and saw her stall destroyed by the storm.
"I am thankful that I am safe. The materials for my business such as banana and tapioca were damaged by the storm,’’ she said, adding that more than 10 other stalls were also destroyed by the storm.