Spring storm pics from Africa

MJ Poore

Sep 28, 2006
Johannesburg, S Africa
It's late spring in my part of the world, so I thought I'd post up some pics of storms I've chased these past two weeks. I hope it brings some relief to those coping with
the northern hemisphere winter.
The twin tower storm you can see was some 60kms away from me, and was desperately trying to organise itself into a persistant supercell. It was coming toward me at 50kmh, and I toward it at 120 kmh.

By the time I met up with it, it had mushed out into a severe squall line. See the pic with the cloud edge contrast, it really was that dark in there. It was belting down hard rain
and as I was trying to get a radar update in my car, hail started hammering my roof, so I pulled out pretty fast.

The other two storms you see were some pretty big dryline storms, which like the other one here, never got organised due to a lack of strong mid to upper level shear.
There have been a few big supercells down here this year, all on the eastern escarpment, one of which we know produced a large damaging tornado. I am hoping for better stuff to chase in December.

Very nice pictures! How hard is it to chace in Africa? What are the roads like in that country?
The roads on the highveld plateau are not bad, plenty of highways etc. I's flat and it looks like Kansas. The problem is that have to be carefull not to end up in a 'bad area', only really around Johannesburg, you know, where there are a lot of poor people, who might see your car as a potential oppotunity.

The best storms are on the eastern escarpment which acts like a kind of dryline with an in-built LLJ, the Eastern Cape area and Kwazulu-Natal, but the roads here are not great, because of the incline and moutains. But the upside is that the storms happen in more or less the same place and are predicable in their movement more or less.
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Great pictures. I'm from Calitzdorp in the Western Cape and so far I've only had one decent chase this spring/summer out of a possible 5. I really enjoy reading your posts, as I'm starved for info on South African storms. Is the tornado that you are referring to, the one in Dullstroom earlier this year? I hope you don't mind, but here are some photos taken on the 7th of October between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn.

After going after a few weak cells, I ended up right in the path of probably the best organised storm I've seen (remember I'm from the cape and we get very, very few here) It went over me and to the south towards George. This was at about 18:00 when the temperature finally started dropping.

It had a huge, sharply defined anvil as you can see in the background and lots of wind rushing towards it from my north.



From the North another cell was approaching which seemed to be feeding the one to the south (my guess, based on all the dust being kicked up. As it got closer, the base got very low, which is uncommon for the storms around here, as they're usually high based, due to our very dry air during summer down here. I guess this was the inflow part.


As I finally decided to head home, I was greeted with a very nice display of Mammatus...


I know none of the above is ground breaking, but this was a pretty good day for me, considering how little action we get down here. I would also appreciate it if anyone can tell me whether I've interpreted what i saw correctly.

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Really great pics Jannes. I does look like classic supercell structure there, what does anyone else think? I think there was a tornado reported in Knysna on that particular day that did some roof damage as well. I am always hearing about big storms down there that pop up. I was referring to an f2 tornado just outside Vryheid in October, not the Dullstroom one in August. In your area there was that small town out in the desert called Jansenville that got torn up by a nado in early 2005. I tried to go get pics and do a survey when I was down there earlier this year, but there was another tornado near Umtata at the time and I had to change my plans.
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Thanx MJ. Unfortunately I am in one of the parts where there's no radar coverage, so I don't have anything to further assess what type of storm this was, but it was big and organised. It didn't have a lot of precipitation, but there was some major winds. I'm not exactly sure which was outflow and which was inflow. I never even heard of the possible tornado in Knysna. The scarce press coverage and availability of reports on tornadoes and severe weather over here frustrate me a bit.


the main languages spoken here besides English are:

Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and other African languages and then Afrikaans. Maybe MJ can tell you if I've missed anything?
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