• The SA Weather Service said a multi-cell cluster storm hit East London on Wednesday evening. 
  • Many people in East London and surrounding towns were left shaken after the storm resulted in excessive thunder and lightning strikes. 
  • The lightning was captured by some residents on their cellphones. 

The storm that hit East London and surrounding areas and left many trembling with fear on Wednesday evening due to excessive lightning and thunder was a multi-cell cluster storm. 

This was revealed by the SA Weather Service (SAWS) to News24 on Thursday. 

According to a response compiled by meteorologists Lelo Kleinbooi and Mandisa Manentsa-Titisi, these types of storms were defined as a group of thunderstorm cells moving in one unit.

On Wednesday just after 18:00, Buffalo City Metro residents were stunned by thunder and lightning strikes that lit up the skyline over the Indian Ocean.  

Many took to social media expressing their shock and awe.

Teacher Luzanne Fouche and her family captured the strikes from their East Coast farm in Gonubie. 

She told News24: 

I have never seen anything like this before. It’s like disco lights. No sound but strong winds came with sudden blows. It’s scary. It’s happening out at sea.

Some described the weather as insane.

The SAWS said possible severe weather that could be expected from multi-cell cluster storms include damaging winds, large hailstones, large amounts of small hail, excessive or frequent lightning, and heavy precipitation which might sometimes lead to flash flooding. 

“Severe thunderstorms are common, with them frequently occurring between November and March. The last time there was a severe thunderstorm over Buffalo City Metro was in March, but due to the nature of thunderstorms they can affect Bhisho and not necessarily get to East London and vice versa.

“It is also important to note that severe thunderstorms may produce any of the above listed severe weather,” it added.

So what caused the dramatic weather in East London? 

“Favorable atmospheric conditions which are conducive for thunderstorm development, in meteorology terms, include a surface trough, a steep upper air trough over the western interior of the country and high instability indices.” 

The SAWS said severe thunderstorms could directly or indirectly cause injuries to people and damage to properties, adding fatalities were possible due to mostly lightning strikes.  

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