VIDEOS: ‘Tornadoes’ spotted in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, heavy rains and strong winds lash eThekwini

Emergency services have their hands full following a “tornado” that caused extensive damage in oThongathi on the KZN North Coast. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue

Emergency services have their hands full following a “tornado” that caused extensive damage in oThongathi on the KZN North Coast. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue

Published Jun 4, 2024



Durban — KwaZulu-Natal residents have taken pictures and videos of the “tornadoes” they spotted on Monday.

These “tornadoes” were spotted in oThongathi, KZN North Coast and near Utrecht, northern KZN.

Emergency services have their hands full following a “tornado” that caused extensive damage in oThongathi on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast. Picture: IPSS Medical Rescue

There was also a question of whether a “tornado” was spotted in Winklespruit, Durban South.

In a statement on Monday evening, the eThekwini Municipality said heavy rains and strong winds caused devastation in parts of the municipality.

“The most significant damages have been reported in the oThongathi area, parts of the Durban Central Business District, uMgababa and surrounding areas. In the western part of the city, fallen trees have blocked roads in Fields Hill, Gillitts and Assagay,” the municipality said.

“Heavy rains have also caused localised flooding in some parts of the city.”

On Tuesday, mayor Mxolisi Kaunda will visit affected areas to assess the extent of the damage.

Around midday, the municipality urged the public to take note of the weather warning issued by the South African Weather Service (Saws) for Monday, June 3.

“Our disaster management teams responded to a number of emergency calls from around 4.20 this afternoon as adverse weather conditions battered parts of the city, causing severe damage to households, schools, municipal property, businesses and infrastructure,” the municipality said.

“The heavy rains have also caused damage to water and electricity infrastructure in oThongathi, leaving some communities without water and electricity.”

Additionally, mop-up operations will begin once assessments have been completed. The immediate priority is keeping victims safe.

Kaunda said: “Emergency response teams have been deployed and are on the ground to provide emergency relief to those affected. Disaster management teams are compiling reports to ensure a consolidated government response. We also have law enforcement agencies on the ground, including metro police and Fire and Emergency personnel who are attending to those in distress.”

He said since heavy rains are expected to continue until late on Monday night, municipal teams will remain on high alert and continue to provide much-needed relief.

In case of an emergency, the public can contact the City’s Disaster Management Centre at 031 361 0000.

Facebook group Severe Weather and Information Centre SA shared some videos on social media.

In one video clip of the “tornado” passing through Casuarina Beach, the person who recorded the video can be heard saying there is a “tornado”.

IPSS Medical Rescue spokesperson Samantha Meyrick said IPSS Medical Rescue and IPSS Search and Rescue teams have been deployed to the oThongathi area following tornado reports.

“Teams are responding to multiple reports of damaged houses and collapsed structures,” Meyrick said.

IOL reported that Lehlohonolo Thobela, Saws meteorologist and weather forecaster, said the video showed a tornado.

“The South African weather services have issued a Level 2 for severe thunderstorms that were covering the central and the western parts of KZN. One of the observations we see severe thunderstorms is the occurrence of tornadoes in an area,” Thobela said.

“We currently have an upper-air cut-off low with the system which is currently positioned over South Africa, now the system is associated with strong wind share and this may also drive the development of cold season, winter storm, which may become severe, like in this case a tornado.”

In another video, a motorist recorded the “tornado”, which was accompanied by debris blowing in the wind. The motorist said the incident was in Ballito, past the tollgate. He described it as huge.

There is another video in Sibaya.

Past the airport, on a road going to Westbrook, trees along the road were uprooted and some were blocking the road.

Meanwhile, around midday, a South African weather Facebook page, Storm Report SA, shared two videos of a “tornado” recorded in northern KZN.

In the first video, Storm Report SA captioned the video: “Tornado close to Utrecht in KZN.”

In the 10-second clip, the weather phenomenon can be seen near what is believed to be a factory and it appears to be moving towards the right.

In the second video, Storm Report SA captioned it: “Another video has been sent to us clearly showing the Tornado close to Utrecht in KwaZulu-Natal.”

In the 21-second clip, taken from inside a vehicle, the motorist can be heard saying “Yoh, it’s a tornado”.

Facebook user Elizabeth Randell Swart said: “Windsprout tornado comes with heavy thunderstorms…”

Another user, Danielle Shannon Nel, said: “Definitely a tornado, it had a brief touch down. It’s not a waterspout or funnel cloud.”

Establishing where the incident might have occurred, based on Facebook comments, one Facebook user, Mariska Oosthuizen, said it happened in Newcastle at Mittal.

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