The South African Weather Service (SAWS) on Thursday has confirmed to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government that the “tornado” which was said to have hit the Jagersrust mountains in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal was, in fact, a “funnel cloud formation” that resembled a tornado.
“The SAWS has advised that it is still analysing the footage that is now circulating on the social media to determine whether it was a tornado or not and it will release the outcome of its investigation tomorrow,” said the KZN government in a statement.
The funnel cloud did not reach any residential areas and no fatalities or damages had been reported.
Residents were panicking after witnessing what seemed like a tornado just after 1pm on Thursday.
Although some argued it was only a funnel cloud, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) said at the time: “Please take note that SAWS did confirm the Bergville tornado by making use of video footage. Should you have more footage or photos please share it with us.
“This tornado occurred earlier today. Please take note that tornadoes have an average lifespan of about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on our page for updates on further warnings that might be issued.”
The SAWS has issued a watch for severe thunderstorms, with a possibility of strong damaging winds, hail and heavy downpours leading to flooding over parts of the Uthukela district municipality, moving eastwards.
The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has since instructed all schools to release pupils who are not writing exams.
“Those who are writing must continue with their planned sessions and released immediately after finishing. Where possible, parents must be informed to collect their children to ensure safe return home,” said the department.
These are some of the videos shared on social media:
Updates to follow as more information is made available.
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)