June 9, 2012 – SOUTH AFRICA – A freak hailstone storm caught Durban off guard on Friday night with unconfirmed reports of damage to roof tiles, gardens and uprooted trees. Chris Hoare, in Durban North, said hail got caught in verges and gardens, and was as much as “six inches thick.” His son and friends took pictures of themselves playing in the hail. However, some suburbs like Glenmore and Westville escaped the storm. Wisani Maluleke, a forecaster at the Durban Weather Office, said temperatures were around 18ºC on Friday night, and large clouds were visible over Durban. “There were reports of hailstones, but we cannot say where,” Maluleke said. A massive ice storm hit Virginia airport in Durban North. Spokesman for the Durban Air Show Ray de Vries said that this is one of the worst hailstorms the aviation fraternity had seen at the airport. “It looked strangely beautiful. The airport was closed due to dangerous conditions.” A number of private planes are expected for the Springbok-England Test match, but de Vries said that airport authorities were confident the storm wouldn’t affect planes flying in for the game. Durbanites, unused to extreme weather conditions, were abuzz on Twitter, while TrafficSA put out a weather warning for motorists, and emergency workers were on high alert. Some people tweeted that it was hailing “mini ice cubes” and that it was as “thick as snow.” Traffic man Rob Byrne posted pictures of a hail-covered road. Rassie Pieterse tweeted: “Hail in Durban, and it’s warmer than Bloem” while others called it a “freak storm.” –I0L news
contribution by Steve B.