Morning gale causes panic
PANAMA. Panama woke up to a darkened sky and strong winds yesterday morning and the situation worsened in just a few minutes with repor...
PANAMA. Panama woke up to a darkened sky and strong winds yesterday morning and the situation worsened in just a few minutes with reports flooding in fast.
All across the country roofs were collapsing, trees falling and power transformers were blown down as the gale strengthened. But by mid-day yesterday there were still no reports of fatalities.
Engineer Luz Calzadilla from the Hydrometeorology department of the Electrical Transmission Company (ETESA) said a tropical wave coming from Costa Rica joined a low pressure system from Colombia and caused this activity.
The wind gusts had a speed of 30-35 knots. The most affected areas were San Miguelito, Panama city and Colon province, and there were reports of collapsed roofs at San Miguel Island and Chepo.
Arturo Alvarado, director of the Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), said they are measuring the extent of the damage.
According to SINAPROC's website at least 105 people and 21 homes were affected by the strong winds.
Tropical waves, or easterly waves, are a type of atmospheric trough, an elongated area of relatively low air pressure, oriented north to south, which move from east to west across the tropics causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms.
SINAPROC also said to keep in mind that such wind gusts are part of the rainy season and that to avoid panic in the event of natural catastrophes, it is a good idea to have a family emergency plan.
To report an emergency, call SINAPROC on *335.