Kimberley - A massive sandstorm had residents here ducking for cover on Thursday and, according to reports, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg were also affected.
Videos and photographs of the dust storms dominated social media outlets as those affected shared what they were experiencing.
With winds approaching 100km/h, as reported at the Kimberley Airport, the dry veld turned the sky red with dust, trees were uprooted and roofs were blown off, but no injuries were reported and only one family required overnight accommodation, according to Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesman, Sello Maitse, who added that the financial impact of the storm appeared to be minimal.
Boemfontein residents were encouraged to stay indoors while the sandstorm swept through the area, a news report said.
In Johannesburg, the SA Weather Service recorded winds of up to 48km/hour around OR Tambo airport.
At SA Fashion Week in the city, turbulent winds delayed the start of the shows. The strong winds began just after 6pm and continued until well after 8pm. Guests had to wait at least two hours before the first show could even start., and the tent had to be rechecked to ensure it would not fall on people.
In Kimberley at around noon on Thursday, wind speeds began to pick up, reaching a maximum of 45 knots (83km/h) shortly before 1pm.
Heavy rain and hail were also recorded in surrounding areas, which helped with some of the dust in the air.
However, parts of the CBD and areas to the north-west of Kimberley sustained the most damage, while reports of trees being blown over were also received. One house in Carr Street, Kimberley North, had its roof nearl ripped off while a similar incident occurred in Malunga Street, where emergency services were called in to assist with the roof, which was partially blown off.
A banner across the N12 towards Johannesburg was also blown loose but caused little disruption to the regular flow of traffic, with officials on the scene within minutes.
With many residents at work during the brief but intense storm, the full extent of the damage could only be assessed last night.
“A number of shanties were blown over in Ivory Park, Jacksonville and Roodepan,” Matsie said. “Trees were blown over in town and were removed, while three teams are currently busy with damage assessment.
“A shanty in Ivory Park was totally destroyed but this is the only case of people who have lost their home as a result of the storm and rebuilding will begin tomorrow.
“We will be liaising with our partners to ensure that this family is properly taken care of and I am sure that they will also be receiving food parcels from Social Development.”
No injuries from the storm were reported at the Kimberley Hospital while ER24’s Albert Hensberg said that the storm had proven to be uneventful other than one of their ambulances sustaining a broken windshield.
“When we saw the storm coming, we were ready for anything but strangely enough, we didn’t get any calls,” said Hensberg. “We know of some shacks that were hit and one of our ambulances had its windshield smashed by a cable that came loose on a banner across the street, but we were surprised not to have anybody needing assistance with injuries caused by the storm.
“It looks like there may be some rain coming tonight so we could be in for a busy evening.”
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