After the Joplin tornado this year, I thought I had sufficiently numbed to stories of tornado-spawned terror and suffering. But reading about the aftermath of a severe storm that hit South Africa on Sunday inspires all kinds of familiar, horrible feelings.
Reports of funnel clouds began to circulate as an upper air trough moved east over the country, according to the South African Weather Service. A great, coal-black funnel appeared over Duduza Township that measured from 165 to 246 feet across. It quickly stripped the roofs from well-constructed houses and cracked walls, one of which fell and killed a boy.
South Africans meteorologists rated this tornado at EF-2 strength. The last time such a potent twister appeared in the area was in 1955. Another tornado is suspected of having touched down in Ficksburg on Sunday, killing another child.
The damage around Duduza seems weirdly amplified. Here are the more awful things that happened, as cited by a gut-wrenching report from News24:
• “The TV was blinking continuously and my wife went to look at what was happening outside. The next moment she was screaming and shouting about things flying through the air. It literally rained stones."
• More than 500 houses were destroyed or made unlivable, and about 150 to 200 people had to go to the hospital. There have been conflicting reports of fatalities, with News24 going with four dead and The Citizen saying two or three perished.
• Trees were debarked.
• After this whole thing went down, traumatized citizens had to defend their homes from concrete thieves. What?
Best to go read the whole story from News24.
(Video sent by a News24 viewer)