Watch: tornado spotted near eSwatini-South Africa border

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 7 January 2019 Tags:, , , ,

Video footage of a tornado moving through Hartebeeskop near the Oshoek border post between South Africa and eSwatini was captured on Saturday 5 January.

Katherine and Andrew Moir were driving from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to their home in Mbabane in eSwatini (formerly called Swaziland) when they witnessed a tornado forming about a kilometre away from where they were.

The couple was on the South African side of the Oshoek border post in Mpumalanga when they noticed strange, black cloud formations. The sky was pale and the dark clouds appeared to be smoke from a fire, but began to form the funnel shape of what they realised was a tornado.

The Moirs and other commuters stopped along the road to witness the unexpected and strange weather phenomenon, which took place at 4pm. The tornado began moving closer towards the road and the couple decided to move to higher ground, driving up to a rise a bit further away. They stopped at this safer vantage point and Andrew Moir began filming the phenomenon.

There had been a thunderstorm, but it hadn’t been too rainy or windy, so spectators were surprised by the tornado’s occurrence.

Katherine reported that the tornado then passed through the village of Hartebeeskop, which lies just west of the Oshoek border near Mbabane. ‘It was blowing through small homes with corrugated iron roofs,’ said Moir. She added that the iron sheeting roofs were then blown off and flew up into the air.

In the first part of the video, the tornado is seen coming down the road. The latter parts of the video show the upward spiralling motion of the tornado’s vortex which darkens to ominous, dark grey cloud cover above. The wind heard in the background of the clip comes as no surprise as you see the spinning twists of the nearby tornado.

Fortunately for residents and commuters, the tornado didn’t last too long and eventually dissipated. It is not known whether anyone was hurt in the event.

Image credit: Unsplash

‘Tornadoes can occur basically anywhere where a thunderstorm is possible,’ says the South African Weather Service, and they tend to happen in mountainous regions.

According to National Geographic, a tornado forms when changes in the wind’s speed and direction create a horizontal spinning effect within a storm cell. This effect is then tipped vertically by rising air moving up through thunderclouds.

Tornadoes can move between 16 to 32 kilometres and don’t get very far or last very long.


Featured image: Unsplash

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