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Pretoria Hailstorm – 14 Dec 2015

On Mon 14 Dec 2015 Pretoria East received quite a few thunderstorms with the first thunderstorm occurring before noon. This is slightly uncommon (but definitely not unheard of) as most thunderstorms generally occur in the afternoon.

Because of the early start to convection on the day I had been following the Irene radar from about 9:00 and noticed numerous storms popping up along a dryline to the W of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Once the second storm moved over just after 12:30 (below) I had other things I needed to do, despite seeing new development to the W of Midrand/Sandton.

The new development looked better than the previous 2 storms and the view Mikey D had of storms passing and/or developing over the Northcliff area of Johannesburg made me really keen to do a time-lapse (which I unfortunately didn’t do).

Just after 14:00 I got a call from my mate (Tsephe Letseka) about a storm he had seen while driving that had awesome structure. I checked the radar and almost immediately I was in my car and on my way to go check it out with Tsephe. It didn’t disappoint. 🙂

The storm had a fast moving shelf cloud with scud cloud rapidly rising into it and behind the shelf cloud was a white white WHITE rain/hail shaft.  The precipitation was so heavy you couldn’t see through it (see below). And then we heard the roar of the hail and knew we had to move. 😀


The hail caught us while driving (got a few small dents in my car) but lucky we weren’t far away from shelter. Below are the videos shot by Tsephe and myself (after I stopped looking for my phone).


Most of the hail was small with quite a number of larger ones. Larger ones were the size of a R5 coin (2.6cm diameter) putting it into the large hail category (≥ 2.0cm).

Even once it had past over the structure remained ominous-looking.


Enhanced infrared satellite imagery from eNCA Weather showed the storm over Pretoria nicely.

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