A freak hailstorm buried the suburbs of Guadalajara, Mexico in up to 5 feet of icy slush on Sunday morning, NBC News reports.
On Sunday morning, a perfect storm, of sorts, descended on the outer reaches of the west-central Mexican city. Despite scorching hot summer temperatures, the usual combination of moist tropical air combined with cool air in the upper atmosphere created the powerful thunderstorm. Summer thunderstorms are, of course, nothing new in Guadalajara, but in this case, it produced a hailstorm that bordered on being catastrophic.
Once the storm had passed, residents of the city’s suburbs found the streets covered in up to 5 feet of hail. Combined with the searing heat, it formed an icy slush that was high enough to completely cover some vehicles. Meanwhile, delighted children thew balls of ice at one another, according to Agence France Presse.
The hailstones themselves that fell on the area weren’t particularly memorable, likely the size of small peas. However, when the initial stones fell on the hot pavement, they melted, creating a layer of water. When more stones fell on the water, according to BBC News, they were able to float, creating a situation that allowed the staggering accumulation of hail.
Social media was soon filled with dramatic pictures of the event, showing startled residents trying to make sense of the positively biblical scene in front of them.
"Then we ask ourselves if climate change is real. These are never-before-seen natural phenomena."
Mexico hail: Ice 1.5m thick carpets Mexico's Guadalajara:https://t.co/lItSY4AkUC
— BBC Radio 4 (@BBCRadio4) July 1, 2019
My city Guadalajara, Jalisco had its first big hailing storm last night and I've never seen such rarity, and it rains like hell over there. Thats 39.8 inches of hail. 1 meter and a half. Can yall see how trapped these trailers are????
Video credits to my father: pic.twitter.com/JPfjQVm699
— dani (@DanielaLomle) June 30, 2019
The fact that Guadalajara had this hail storm is crazy, period. And y’all still thing global warming is fake. Smh. pic.twitter.com/lkEQ9TpzCz
— Ali Rizo (@ali_4496) July 1, 2019
Fortunately, there were no injuries. However, at least 50 vehicles were swept away by the icy torrent, and at least 200 homes and businesses were damaged.
According to Mexican newspaper Excelsior, officials in the area dispatched heavy machinery to attempt to move the icy slush away from the cities.
#IMPORTANTE trabajamos en coordinación con autoridades municipales en la colonia Rancho Blanco, donde se registró gran cantidad de granizo alcanzando hasta un metro de altura en algunas partes, nuestros oficiales trabajan en la remoción del material que está en las calles. pic.twitter.com/nfktldeMEz
— Protección Civil JAL (@PCJalisco) June 30, 2019
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro blamed climate change for the storm.
“I’ve never seen such scenes in Guadalajara. We ask ourselves if climate change is real. These are never-before-seen natural phenomenons. It’s incredible,” he said.
In fact, according to NASA’s Global Climate Change project, blaming localized bizarre weather on climate change is something of a fool’s game, at least when it comes to thunderstorms.
While it’s true that hotter global temperatures provide the atmosphere with more heat, which can then be converted into stronger and more-frequent storms, “disproportionate warming in the Arctic should lead to less wind shear,” sort of evening things out.
Weather historians believe the worst hailstorm in recorded history took place in India in 1888. On April 30 of that year, hailstones the size of baseballs fell on Uttar Pradesh, killing 246 people.