Does South Africa Get Tornadoes?

Does South Africa Get Tornadoes?

Tornadoes, those swirling tempests of nature’s fury, are making increasingly rare appearances in South Africa. As climate change stirs the atmosphere, these destructive wind funnels could become more frequent visitor to the nation, causing harm. Let’s find out more about this looming threat. Does South Africa get Tornadoes and if they do are they a completely rare occurrence? In the past hundred years or so, South Africa has seen its share of tornadoes, though not nearly as much as the 1200 to 1300 annually that we get here in the United States or in Canada. Most news sources however, such as Cape Town ETC or other News24 type blogs that cover information in the region, have stated that the rate of tornadoes is becoming LESS rare and that the prevalence of these storms is increasing quite a bit, due to climate change and warmer air creating better conditions for Tornadoes to form. Global Warming…apparently is real! And we can see the changes happening right before our eyes on a global scale (I digress). In this article, let’s look at the prevalence of Tornadoes in South Africa, in the past, present and future.

Does South Africa Get Tornadoes?Other countries that we’ll cover weather patterns and tornado news on include the following:

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Tornadoes in South Africa, Are Tornadoes Rare or Common in South Africa?


Tornadoes don’t happen often in South Africa, but they can occur. These natural phenomena occur when thunderstorms go wild, spinning air into a vortex. South African geography lecturer Jan de Waal believes that the country might see more tornadoes as global temperatures rise because warmer temperatures increase evaporation and thunderstorms, creating the perfect recipe for tornado formation.

I would venture to guess that in the next 5 to 10 years we’ll see Tornadoes no longer being more rare in the Region, but that instead as warm air moves towards the area due to Climate Change, that they may become as commonplace as in the United States. Think I’m pulling your leg? Here’s two resources I found from two extremely reputable sources that often have good news media in the region that say the same thing!

A whirlwind history of tornadoes in South Africa,sciences%20lecturer%20at%20Witwatersrand%20University.

Add to these resources above that we just saw a quadruple Tornado outbreak in the Philippines last night in an area that never gets these storms, and I would say that climate change is making the earth much more likely to have conditions that replicate these weather patterns.

Here’s a direct quote from the article:

“As temperatures rise with global warming, so do levels of evaporation and the number of thunderstorms, Stellenbosch University geography lecturer Jan de Waal said. It is those thunderstorms that create the right conditions for tornadoes.”

This is directly from the article. In a nutshell:

More Severe Thunderstorms due to Climate Change creating more evaporation =

More favorable conditions for Tornadoes on a Consistent Basis =

More Tornadoes =

Additional Favorable Conditions from the Existing Tornadoes to form MORE Tornadoes

Continue repeating.

My guess is in 5 to 10 years Cape Town and South Africa as a landscape will need to become much more accustomed to dealing with Tornadoes, though likely just weaker ones that they’ll need to deal with.

Where Are Tornadoes Likely to Strike, And Does Cape Town Experience Hurricanes Also?

Tornadoes mostly happen in specific spots in South Africa, like the Highveld in Gauteng and some areas in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal where thunderstorms are common. The nice thing is, as De Waal says, South African tornadoes aren’t usually as strong or damaging as those in the United States.

Africa already gets hurricanes that form off the coast, and in fact most major tropical storm systems originate in Africa. Add to this the fact that they don’t have the same type of infrastructure that we have here in the West, and you have a recipe for what is possibly a difficult decade ahead.

Tornadoes on the Rise


According to Bob Scholes, an environmental sciences lecturer, “the trend of increasing tornadoes could continue as climate change causes more evaporation and atmospheric instability.” However, it’s important to note that South Africa’s building design codes might not be prepared to protect against these severe weather events, which are still relatively uncommon in the region.

Another well respected scientist saying the same thing as the above gives me the feeling that this is real for the people of South Africa.

The Difficulty of Predicting Tornado Patterns


Despite recent increases in tornado sightings, Professor Francois Engelbrecht from Witwatersrand University warns that it might be too soon to predict what will happen locally. Tornadoes remain rare, and establishing patterns around their occurrences is challenging. While there isn’t enough information to confirm an increase in South African tornadoes, global trends suggest a rise in severe weather events as temperatures and evaporation rates climb.


Conclusion on Does South Africa Get Tornadoes? A Truly Loaded Question


South Africa faces the looming threat of tornadoes, with experts warning of potential increased frequency due to climate change. While South African tornadoes are typically less destructive than their global counterparts, it’s crucial to consider updating building codes for the safety of residents. Advancements in technology may offer greater understanding of tornado patterns. Even though tornadoes are infrequent in SA, staying informed and prepared is vital in adapting to a changing climate. Want updates on Tornadoes in your area? Subscribe to our blog and get regular updates on severe weather patterns all across the states. We’re also working on a WhatsApp Service where we can communicate you to give you live information from the web in the case you can’t access it. Thanks for reading!




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