The South African Weather Service has confirmed that a landspout, and not a tornado, ripped through Hanover Park on Friday morning, resulted in several houses having their roofs blown off.
This after a well-developed cold front made landfall over the south-western parts of the Western Cape, the third cold front of a series of cold fronts, which was dominated by cold, windy, and wet weather conditions.
By Friday morning images and videos were doing the rounds on social media, with residents frantically claiming a tornado hit a localised area in Hanover Park. According to assessments, 20 formal houses in total were damaged and 10 back yard dwellings were also damaged.
Damages were mostly the result of debris from the roofs blown off from surrounding properties. The damage was restricted to residents living in Athry Walk and Phillans Walk.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) conducted an analysis of the weather conditions on the day of the event and considering all available information, it was determined that the wind phenomenon that hit Hanover Park was a landspout.
What is a Landspout?
Like a tornado, a landspout also rotates, is usually fast-moving and can be damaging.
However, landspouts are much weaker and smaller in scale and form from the ground up, rather than from a cloud to the ground.
After evaluating the meteorological conditions and the damage that was caused by the Hanover Park landspout, it was determined that it was an EF-0 landspout. This is particularly related to the blown off roof tiles.
The EF-rating refers to the strength (estimated wind speed) of the wind phenomenon by considering the damage severity to structures and trees.
The Weather Service thanked the City of Cape Town who provided valuable video material and images which helped them in making their assessment. They have called on the public to share more videos and images, which could be vital for future research.
This information can be shared with the Cape Town Weather Office via email email@example.com or via WhatsApp (084 279 1166).
Meanwhile, several structures were also damaged by gale force winds in the Wolwerivier area, but the Weather Service says further assessments will have to be done to determine the weather system that caused it.