Bulwer storm was ‘small tornado’

2009-11-12 00:00

THE damage caused to the Bulwer area on Friday was the work of a tornado, albeit a small one.

“Looking at the photographs of the damage and uprooted trees, it was definitely a tornado,” said Ntobeko Nkangane of the SA Weather Office in Durban. “Only a tornado can do that kind of damage.”

He said wind speeds in the smallest tornado are about 160 km/h, while winds in severe tornadoes can reach over 300 km/h.

Nkangane said that tornadoes, also known as “twisters”, develop in about half of all supercell thunderstorms.

“There is a stronger chance in storms which develop in the vicinity of a cold front or zone of wind convergence or where there is sufficient low- level moisture.”

Nkangane said weather forecasters issue warnings to various disaster managers when storms enter the heavy or severe categories. They, in turn, should warn the local population, he said.

“But when a tornado develops it’s too late to warn anyone.”

Nkangane said that KZN should have a more sophisticated storm prediction system in place by next year.

He said a Doppler radar system is to be installed, which will provide them with more detailed information about the development of storms which can produce severe weather.

He said Pretoria already has Doppler radar, which is capable of detecting the motion of rain droplets in addition to intensity of the precipitation.

Both types of data can be analysed to determine the structure of storms and their potential to cause severe weather.

Nkangane added that predictions are that fewer storms could be experienced in the December/January period due to the development of the expected El Nino system; the accompanying effect of the El Nino is less rainfall.

“If that materialises there could be fewer thunderstorms. “

He added that people can also look at the SA Weather site on the Internet — www.weathersa.co.za — where a storm warning screen shows the development and predicted movement of storms which have developed.

But he cautioned that just because a storm appears to be large does not necessarily mean that it is more severe.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.