Throwback Thursday: Freak weather way back when

The Ceres / Tulbagh earthquake of 1969

De Oude Drostdy at Tulbagh was pretty much destroyed

De Oude Drostdy at Tulbagh.

The Ceres earthquake of 1969 remains the most destructive earthquake in South African history. The earthquake occurred on the 29 September 1969 in the Ceres / Tulbagh area and registered an alarming 6.3 on the Richter scale. There were reports of the shock of the original 6.3 magnitude earthquake being felt from as far as Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, over 1000km away. It is also estimated to have caused a displacement of 26cm over a distance of 20km.

Much of the Tulbagh community had to leave the area while cleanup and reconstruction was performed on the damaged roads and houses, though many of the houses damaged during the earthquake were never rebuilt.

The damage wasn’t confined to property, during the 15 second long earthquake 11 people lost their lives.

The Laingsburg flood 1981


On 25 January 1981, in Laingsburg’s centennial year, the largest part of the town was swept away within minutes by one of the strongest floods ever experienced in the Great Karoo. After a cloud burst to the north-eastern hinterland, south of the Komsberg, a massive wall of water rushed down the Buffels River and swept away everything it encountered in its way. A flood of this magnitude occurs once in about a 100 years.

Floods February 2000

crocodile river 2000

Crocodile River

The floods that affected much of Southern Africa in February 2000 were reported as the most severe in living memory.

10 September 1981


Large parts of the South African interior, including the Long Tom Pass, Amersfoort, Bethal, Witbank, Standerton, Ermelo, Springs, Delmas and Vanderbijlpark received the greatest snowfall on record in September 1981. In Johannesburg, where it snowed all day, the snow lay 15 – 20cm deep. Pretoria also had some snow in the morning. Trains were delayed, hospitals had to use emergency power, and flights to and from Jan Smuts International Airport (O.R Tambo) were cancelled. Hundreds of telephone poles between Harrismith and Warden bent under the weight of snow.

Caxton Central

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