Windstroms are likely to repeat in Almaty foothills in May 02 мая 2012, 18:49
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Photo by Vladimir Dmitriyev©
Storms that fell thousand of trees last year are likely to repeat in Almaty foothills in May this year, Tengrinews.kz reports, referring to Mikhail Kazantsev, Kazakh National Technical University (KazNTU) associate professor.
“Yes, May storms that happened in Ile-Alatau Nature Park and Almaty mountains area could repeat themselves in May this year,” Kazantsev said in an interview to Caravan newspaper. According to him, incorrect urban development became one of the reasons of last year's devastating storms.
“Natural atmospheric circulation has been infringed upon in the last decade by the disorderly building boom in Almaty. The circulation is hindered by high-rise buildings. City’s hot and polluted air can’t move freely along its natural circulation channels, its gets stagnated and more heated. This facilitates generation of hurricanes and similar flows,” Kazantsev said. He added that Almaty should be expending in North-South direction. However, the majority of the new high-rise buildings have been constructed along West-East axis.
“Eventually the hot air flows over the tall buildings, but it should get hotter to overcome these obstacles. As a result, our city bowl’s air becomes much too warm (Almaty city is located in a valley surrounded by mountains that create the 'bowl' effect),” Kazantsev said. According to him, after the air is heated enough to overcome the artificial barriers the mass of overheated air starts to move towards foothills. There it clashes with the cold air flows and it results in windstorms or even hurricanes.
“Last year a devastating storm fell in May and that was no coincidence. There is still a lot of snow in May in the mountains and it cools the air. Whereas in the city the air is quite hot in May. These are the most suitable conditions for windstorm formation,” Kazantsev said.
About 100 000 trees were fallen by storms on May 17 and June 27, 2011, in Ile-Alatau National Nature Park. 10 000 trees were fallen in Almaty city. The hurricanes snatched off 37 residential houses’ roofs6 destroyed 62 street lights poles and tore down numerous electric cables. Many of the tree fallen in the city landed on cars parked in the streets and even injured several people.
Funds were allocated from the central budget immediately after the disasters to clean up the storms’ consequences. Vladimir Bozhko, Kazakhstan Minster of Emergency Situations, announced at the meetings that following the storms. Over 600 million tenge ($4.1 million) were allocated from Almaty city’s budget as well. However, the cleanup after the disaster hasn’t still been fully completed.