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Pietermaritzburg Hailstorm – 6 Feb 2015

A massive hailstorm struck Pietermaritzburg (PMB) at just after 18:00, damaging cars and breaking the windows and roof tiles of many homes. Reports of hail range from pea-size to tennisball-size and larger, with some regular-shaped hail and the largest ones being spiky. The largest hailstones seemed to fall in the Scottsville area with some estimated to larger than 10cm in diameter. Worst affected areas appear to be those surrounding the CBD (Prestbury, Scottsville, etc.).

It is highly unlikely that a storm that produces hail this size was anything other than a supercell thunderstorm. A hail TBSS (a signature indicative of large/severe hail) was observed on radar just prior to the storm reaching PMB while. An overshooting top was also evident in EUMETSAT satellite imagery and is indicative of a vigorous updraft. If you’d like to help out with some severe storm/hail research you can do it here.

PMB Hailstorm - EUMETSAT

Pietermaritzburg hailstorm at 18:00 SAST circled in red.
© Copyright 2015 EUMETSAT

A notification was sent out by various insurance companies before the event, with some of them posted on Twitter and Facebook. Numerous images appeared on Twitter and the SA Weather Reports (requires approval) Facebook group. Below are numerous images of the hail and hail damage as well as video footage of the hailstorm.

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Golf ball-size hail in Boughton. Photo by Ryan Nortier (via Facebook)

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Hail damage in Lincoln Meade. Photo by Maree Bekker via Facebook.

 

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