GUADALAJARA: A freak hail storm on Sunday struck Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s most populous cities, shocking residents and trapping vehicles in a deluge of ice pellets up to two meters (yards) deep, reports AFP.
“I’ve never seen such scenes in Guadalajara,” said the state governor, Enrique Alfaro.“Then we ask ourselves if climate change is real. These are never-before-seen natural phenomenons,” he said. “It’s incredible.”
Guadalajara, located north of Mexico City and with a population of around five million, has been experiencing summer temperature of around 31 Centigrade (88 Fahrenheit) in recent days.
While seasonal hail storms do occur, there is no record of anything so heavy.
At least six neighborhoods in the city outskirts woke up to ice pellets up to two meters deep.
While children scampered around and hurled iceballs at each other, Civil Protection personnel and soldiers brought out heavy machinery to clear the roads.
Nearly 200 homes and businesses reported hail damage, and at least 50 vehicles were swept away by the deluge of ice in hilly areas, some buried under piles of pellets.While no casualties were reported, two people showed “early signs of hypothermia,” the state Civil Protection office said.
According to BBC Weather, the hail probably melted on contact due to the high temperatures forming a layer of water upon which more hail could land and float.
This combination of water and hail likely moved down slope, with obstacles such as buildings blocking the flow and allowing more ice to accumulate on top.
The actual hailstones were relatively small, less than 1cm in diameter, and nothing like the golf-ball sized hail seen at times in severe storms in the US.