Drought, rain and Hail in the Karoo

The Karoo is a place of fascinating contrasts. The Graaff-Reinet Herald of Thursday, March 28, 1889, reported that “a warm gentle warm rain during the past week broke a dry spell, but in the Camdeboo the mountains are thickly covered with snow. We anticipate a continuance of the delightfully bracing cold weather that set in after the rain. It is a break from the heat. Pasturage will be abundant this winter and we looking forward to a fest of fat beef and mutton. Sadly, however, during a thunderstorm on Wednesday, 75 sheep were struck dead by lightning on Stephanus Meintjies’s farm.” On December 14, 1777, explorer Robert Jacob Gordon, the first person to formally state the relationship between the south-east winds of the Cape and rains up country, was caught in a hail storm in the Sneeuberg area. “There was heavy thunder, gusts of high wind, large hailstones and heavy rain. A few days before, pieces of broken ice, the size of a man’s fist, fell during a thunder storm.” he wrote.


© Rose’s Roundup, February 2011 (No 205)

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