Gale-force winds lash the Bay
Crane falls in harbour, walls collapse as gusts of up to 102km/h recorded
Strong winds wreaked havoc in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday, collapsing a crane in the Port Elizabeth harbour, blowing down walls and seriously injuring one person, and damaging several cars, buildings and billboards.
Gale-force winds with speeds gusting up to 102km/h were reported at 8am.
Giving some context to the wind speeds, SA Weather Service weatherman Garth Sampson said the maximum gust experienced in the Bay was 139km/h, something that happened in August 1991.
“The wind increase in speed over a relatively short period could have been a contributing factor to a crane collapsing,” he said.
Rose Rawstron took a picture of the collapsed crane from her flat on the 17th floor of The Beaches in Humewood just after getting back from gym at 7am.
“When we left for Virgin Active in Humerail at 6.15am there was no wind but it came up about 20 minutes later and by the time we left the gym to run back home – about 6.50am – it was hectic,” Rawstron said.
Transnet’s Port Elizabeth port manager Rajesh Dana said no employees were injured when the ship-to-shore crane was damaged.
“The engineering team is assessing the extent of the damage.
“However, the crane has been secured.”
Bay EMS head and paramedic Ashwell Botha said a wall of an abandoned building across from the South End Museum had fallen over in the morning. “One person was slightly injured and due to the injuries being minor, he refused treatment,” he said.
In another incident, a wall fell onto a person in Sanctor, Bethelsdorp.
“The person was experiencing difficulty in breathing.
“Advanced life support interventions were requested and the person taken to hospital in a serious condition,” he said.
In other parts of the city, overhead signboards were blown away along the M4 Settlers Freeway and boarding around the old Post Office opposite the Feather Market Centre collapsed on cars parked in Baakens Street.
In New Brighton, the roofs of two homes in Dubula Street were completely swept away.
Neighbour Luthando Thomas, who assisted the families trying to patch up the roofs, said it was a scary sight.
He said the children living in the houses, one under a year old, had been terrified.
“Both families have unemployed people and children so I am hoping they can get help,” he said.
In Hunters Retreat, a trailer loaded with Jo-Jo tanks toppled over.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Alwin Labans said: “The bakkie is from Limpopo and was pulling two trailers loaded with Jo-Jo tanks.
“The wind caused one of the trailers to topple over in Cape Road. No-one was injured in the incident.”
Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said metro staff were attending to many electrical faults in rural areas.
“The supply to all faults is to be restored soonest but no timeframes are available at this stage,” he said.
Mniki said about 10 incidents were reported to the municipality on Tuesday.
These included a tree in Park Drive that had been uprooted, a street light fallen across the road in Recreation Street, Mount Pleasant, and a tree with its roots exposed in Mangold Street, Newton Park.
“Electricity staff are also attending to numerous rural faults due to exceptionally strong winds.
“Our parks department was out attending to those issues of fallen-down trees.
“For now we are happy that there were no injuries [reported] or any fatalities. We hope it will remain that way.
“We have received a lot of reports of electricity cuts in the rural, farm areas towards Jefferys Bay as the winds tend to be stronger in this area, but our technicians are attending to this,” he said.
As the wind whipped through the Bay, the weather office also revealed that some areas in the interior yielded record temperatures on Monday, with many places reaching temperatures in the 40°Cs.
These include Patensie, Uitenhage, Graaff-Reinet, Cradock, Dohne, as well as Addo, Fort Beaufort and Middleton (Henry’s Flats).
Addo was 44.5°C on Monday, with the previous October record of 43°C recorded on October 30 2017.
The all-time Addo record of 46.6°C was recorded on February 1 2016.
Fort Beaufort (43.6°C) and Henry’s Flats (42.6°C) also recorded October records. - Additional reporting by Gareth Wilson