SHORTLY before 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon, January 31, all eyes turned to the sky as a tornado appeared to form above Vryheid.
The third twister in the area since November last year, this weather phenomenon has shocked many residents who say they don’t recall this sort of thing happening in Vryheid in many years.
Bewildered bystanders watched in awe as the ominous clouds above began to form a funnel in the sky, while below on the horizon another funnel was forming on the ground.
From Vryheid Cricket Club, where play had to be stopped due to weather conditions, the formation of the tornado was a fascinating sight, demanding the attention of players and spectators alike, until what had initially appeared to be a picture of impending doom somewhat disappointingly dissolved into the sky after only a short while, followed by a torrential downpour which lasted for several hours.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, where the tail end of the tornado had been forming, several houses in the Nyala Drive and Klipspringer Street were damaged in the short and sudden path of the twister.
Sampie and Nellie, whose home in Klipspringer Street was one of those damaged by the tornado when parts of the roof were destroyed, bore witness to the kindness of certain members of the community who rushed to assist them in the wake of the disaster. In torrential rain, these men managed to cover the gaping hole in the roof, saving the couple from further damage to their possessions.
Sampie submitted a letter to the Vryheid Herald, thanking these brave men for their assistance:
“Luellen; Pieter; Johannes; Nduk; Gus; Nek en Wynand,
Hiermee wil ek julle manne bedank vir julle hulp en bystand Saterdagmiddag toe julle die storm trotseer het om my by te staan. Dankie manne. Julle hulp word opreg gewardeer.
Sampie en Nellie”
Watch the video footage of the tornado forming, as seen from Vryheid Cricket Club.