Top 5 worst tornadoes in South African history

After two tornadoes over the past three days made national headlines, we take a look at the five worst tornadoes in South African history and the damage they left behind.

5. Welkom – March 20, 1990

welkom

This tornado caused more than R230-million worth of structural damage over a 20 kilometer wide path of destruction. The multi-vortex tornado scowered through the suburbs and was part of a 240 km long storm front and had a width of up to 1.7 km.

 

4. Utrecht – November 3, 1993

tornadoweb

This tornado devastated a 200 meter wide, 35 kilometer long stretch of rural Utrecht and Glencoe. 40 people lost their homes and seven were killed. The image shows the recent tornado which was captured on camera between Utrecht and Vryheid.

 

3. Harrismith – November 15, 1998

HarrismithTornado15Nov1998

This tornado left a destroyed over 750 homes over a nine kilometer path. It caused damage to a number of telephone and power lines. Reports indicate 15 people were injured. The Harrismith tornado has been described as the ‘most spectacular’ in our country.

 

2. Roodepoort – November 26, 1948

Roodepoort2

700 homes were wrecked when this tornado struck the suburb of Roodepoort. Four people were killed and damages of almost R150-million were reported. The tornado left a path of destruction 64 kilometers long, with the tornado touching down 15 times in different areas.

 

1. Mount Ayliff, Eastern Cape – January 18, 1999

mountayliff

A violent F4 tornado ripped through areas surrounding Mount Ayliff and Tabankulu. The majority of towns were destroyed, with 95 percent of residents left homeless. Numerous vehicles were thrown significant distances by the storm, with one travelling almost 500 meters. This is largely considered the deadliest tornado in our history. 25 people were killed and approximately 500 others injured.

 

Click here to read more about why tornadoes occur.

 

  AUTHOR
Kyle Cowan
Journalist

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