'KZN ideal tornado climate, but no evidence it's consequence of climate change'

A tornado hit the Mpolweni area near Hanover in KwaZulu-Natal midlands on Tuesday.

This is after the South African Weather Service issued a warning of severe thunderstorms in KwaZulu-Natal citing that further rainfall could result in damaging impacts for some areas.

Scores of people have been injured and properties have been damaged because of the tornado.

To discuss the occurrence of tornados in South Africa, Bongani Bingwa chats to Wits University's Global Institute climate modeller professor Francois Engelbrecht.

The storm that occurred on Tuesday is a super thunderstorm which led to the formation of a tornado.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Climate modeller - Wits University's Global Institute

He says a tornado is the most violent type of weather system that occurs on the planet.

It is essentially a rapidly rotating column of air that stretches from the base of a thunderstorm cloud all the way to the surface.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Climate modeller - Wits University's Global Institute

It is yet to be established the strength of the tornado on Tuesday however, it may well have been an F1 or F2 intensity tornado, he explains.

That means the wind speeds within that system, may have reached as high as 80 kilometres per hour.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Climate modeller - Wits University's Global Institute

KwaZulu-Natal's climate makes the area an ideal breeding grounds for tornados within the South African region, he argues.

But there is no evidence that there is an increase of tornados in South Africa as a consequence of climate change.

Professor Francois Engelbrecht, Climate modeller - Wits University's Global Institute

Listen below to the full conversation:


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