Storm warning blown out

Kamogelo Seekoei and Sapa

Kamogelo Seekoei and Sapa

Panicked Johannesburg residents left work earlier than usual yesterday after receiving warnings from the South African Weather Service (SAWS) about a looming tornado.

Stores closed before end of trading as companies released their staff early so they could avoid the thunderstorm.

Eskom also warned the public about expected power cuts.

But by 6pm, when the storm was expected to begin, the sun was still out and only a few clouds were visible.

The smses and e-mails doing the rounds during the day warned people about severe conditions between 6pm and 8pm.

SAWS' spokesman's Mnikeli Ndabambi said they did not warn of a tornado. "We only gave a warning about damaging hail and damaging wind but someone blew it out of proportion.

At the time of going to press, only Tshwane hasdexperienced a storm with the Metro police station roof ripped off by winds.

Spokeswoman Superintendent Louise Britz said the roof damaged four electricity poles at the investigations' unit.