Bloemfontein cleans up hail-storm damage as stormy weekend looms

2016-10-21 18:23 -
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Cape Town - The Free State town of Bloemfontein is far from over the effects of an intense hails storm, that saw about 50mm of rain falling in less than 25 minutes.

Bloemfontein resident and DA ward councillor for Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, David Mc Kay says he was working from his home office in Westdene when it happened at about 16:45 on Thursday.

WATCH: Massive hailstorm hits Bloem

Mc Kay, a graphic designer who has lived in Bloemfontein for most of his life, describes the storm as quite unlike anything he has experienced before and while only his garden took a hammering, it is nothing like the damage suffered in the centre of town he says.

“A massive trees was blown over in Raymond Mhlaba street, knocking over power lines.”

Shopping centre ceiling caved in

“Currently the Noordstad Shopping Centre has been closed indefinitely after its ceiling caved in and the Virgin Active also in the same centre has also been closed for the weekend.”

There has also been excessive damage to roads due to flooding and none of the traffic lights are working, says Mc Kay

“The rural areas have been hardest hit, as a number of shacks have either been damaged or knocked down entirely.”

“Everybody is still assessing the damage,  we still have power outages in some areas, even though the municipality has been trying to restore it.” McKay also confirmed a neighbour’s entire perimeter wall was knocked down due to the storm. 

“While this might appear as relief rain, it is not enough to change Bloemfontein’s water crisis.  I’m devastated for the people that lost their homes and what little they have and can only sympathise with those who have suffered damage to their property.”

SEE: More storms expected in parts of the Free State 

Tumi Phatudi, a forecaster at the Bloemfontein Weather Office, told News24 there was high instability in the atmosphere, which had resulted in the storm.

"We had a watch for severe thunderstorms in the province and we only issued a warning in the northern and eastern Free State. We couldn't issue a warning in Bloemfontein because we couldn't update our severe weather alert watch due to our radar not working," Phatudi said.

"We are still expecting severe thunderstorms in the northern and eastern Free State on Friday."

Weekend Weather Update: Thunderstorms persist in parts of SA

Free State department of health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said there were no injuries reported as a result of the storm. 

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