I thought I had escaped Canadian winter—I know it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere and I’ve learned by now that it can be an uncomfortable misconception to think that you’d go to Africa to get warm, but still, ice in East London?
Tuesday began with a wicked storm which managed to wreak extensive damage between about 4 and 7am. Over 40mm of rain fell in those hours and the city came to a standstill right around early morning rushhour. Lying in bed, I thought it was another tropical storm with powerful winds and rains that make you wonder if it can get any harder and then the introduction of heavy hail. When I looked out the window, the rain was coming completely horizontal and it was almost impossible to see anything in front of you. On a drive through the city that morning, street lights were out, roads and bridges were washed away forcing much of the traffic to use a limited number of routes, cars were stalling in the massive puddles, branches and housing paneling were scattered throughout, and it was cold!
I received a text message asking if I had seen Vincent Mall, which is a couple blocks from my house and a daily meeting place for Canadians. When we drove by and looked at the main level, there didn’t seem to be any problems but that all changed when we went to the lower level parking lot. SNOW! Or at least hail that had frozen together! Incredible damage to almost all of the stores and the mall was a disaster! Check out the photos…
Much of East London was affected-power was out, homes were damaged, roads were in tatters, and the last two days have been spent cleaning up. Luckily our home was not affected but much of the storm’s evidence is still around.