LOOK: Tornado touches down in small town in Mpumalanga



Published Nov 14, 2023


South Africans in our northern provinces experienced bouts of extreme weather on Monday evening, with authorities confirming a tornado that touched down in the small farming town of Bethal, in Mpumalanga.

This is after videos and images surfaced online showing a massive dark cloud in the sky with a tornado swirling underneath.

South African Weather Service forecaster, Vanetia Phakula said the video they saw looked “like the real thing” but teams were yet to assess the affected area of Bethal.

Bethal is in the Govan Mbeki Municipality in Mpumalanga.

“So we also saw that video and pictures online and it looks to be true. You can tell by how the trees were swirling in the video, which gives some indication as to the intensity of the tornado,” Phakula said, adding that their assessment of the Bethal tornado will be concluded in the coming weeks.

“Our teams have not yet managed to get on the ground to assess the damages and try and figure out how severe it actually was.”

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs’ (Cogta) National Disaster Management Centre’s Dr Elias Sithole said the regional Cogta team was still busy compiling a report on damage.

“At this stage I cannot confirm 100%, but I did also see those videos online. A team was on the ground and I am just waiting for the report from them. It should be with me shortly,” Sithole said.

In the video, the tornado can be seen touching down in a large open plain with electricity infrastructure in the foreground and trees beside it.

The tornado can be seen swirling in a clockwise direction. The tree in the foreground blows in a direction matching the tornado.

In footage shared to Twitter by Road Angels Traffic Information, roads were covered in what looked like hailstones. The motorway appeared to be covered in a layer of ice.

Meanwhile, about two hours north-west of Bethal, in Johannesburg, a hail storm destroyed hundreds of vehicles and other infrastructure, as reports state that golf ball-sized hail fell on Monday night.

Roads in the Johannesburg central business district were also covered in a layer of ice after the storm, according to videos seen online.

Videos shared from residential complexes also showed the large hailstones falling on top of parking bays.

In another video shared to social media, a woman narrates the video as she steps out of the gym to find her white Audi TT Sport damaged by the hail.

Other cars in the parking lot also looked like they sustained damage.

Gauteng authorities are yet to release a detailed report on the damage.