Deadly ‘supercell’ storm scatters ships in South Africa

Moored ships were blown away as a “supercell thunderstorm” swept through South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal region, killing at least 11 people.

The dead include a child swept away by rising waters and two patients killed when a wall collapsed at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, near Durban, the region’s main city.

People standing on a central reservation look at submerged vehicles on a flooded road during stormy weather in Durban, South Africa, 10 October 2017Image copyrightRESCUE CARE VIA REUTERS
Image captionMotorists were stranded for hours as gale force winds and heavy rains hit the coastal region

KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the country were hit by a “supercell thunderstorm”, the South African Weather Service said.

Such storms are characterised by a persistently rotating updraft like a tornado.

Durban had its wettest October day on record with 108mm (4.2in) of rain.

People wade through flood water in strong winds and rain next to submerged vehicles on a road during stormy weather in Durban, South Africa , 10 October 2017Image copyrightRESCUE CARE VIA REUTERS

“Satellite pictures show lightning over the sea and it seems to be moving off the coastline,” Weather Service spokesman Hannelee Doubell was quoted by South Africa’s TimesLive news site as saying.

The storm forced the closure of the Port of Durban, one of the busiest in Africa, which remains shut.

Three vessels were grounded while others broke mooring lines and drifted in the channel, the port authority said in a statement.

Traffic jams caused by fallen trees during a storm in Durban, South Africa October 10, 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe storm caused widespread destruction

Emergency rescue worker Paul Herbst said a little girl had been washed away by floodwaters in Umlazi, a residential area south of Durban.

“A creche lying close to a nearby river flooded,” he told the privately owned IOL news site.

“The teacher from the creche managed to grab three of the children. Unfortunately a fourth child got swept down to the river in the floods.”

Cleaners mop up water at King Edward VIII Hospital during a storm in Durban, South Africa, 10 October 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionDurban’s King Edward VIII Hospital was also flooded

All photographs are copyrighted.

source: BBC