Images and videos of the damage caused by severe thunderstorms have been flooding social media in recent days. The storms had dumped devastating hailstones and heavy showers on parts of Mzansi, and could be repeated in a season predicted to bring above-average rainfall.
The thunderstorms have left families homeless and farmers with destroyed infrastructure, crops and dead animals.
According to the South African Weather Service a severe storm moved over the Fort Beaufort and Adelaide area on Monday, 13 December 2021 at around 14:30. This was the second severe storm to hit the Eastern Cape in less than a week.
“On the afternoon of 9 December, a severe storm passed over Baziya (20km west of Mthatha), resulting in six deaths and the loss of livestock that were hit by severe hail,” the weather service said. The storm over Adelaide and Fort Beaufort also yielded significant damage.
While rumours were circulating about a tornado, the SAWS says that there has been no evidence that the storm was a tornado. “However, we definitely see evidence of severe storms with strong, damaging winds, hail and heavy downpours that resulted in widespread damage over the area.”
The Free State was also hit. On Tuesday, 14 December 2021 Storm Report SA posted pictures to Facebook of a flooded chicken farm where a business had lost thousands of chicks due to localised flooding. “75 mm rain within 30 minutes, between Wesselsbron and Makwassie, Free State,” it posted. “This business lost 45 000 chicks.”
Another image from Alice shows the golf ball-sized hailstones that have wreaked havoc in Alice and Bofolo.
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