Part of the reason Australia has been so devastated by this summer's wildfires is because the continent is in the grips of a years-long drought. And as the continent's summer transitions into fall, that's brought with it a much-needed change in the weather: rain and thunderstorms. While the rain is welcome and is giving firefighters the smallest of breaks, it's bringing with it its own set of issues -- namely, thunderstorms that produce lightning that can itself spark new fires, as well as damaging hail.
This was apparent on Monday afternoon (local time) in the country's capital of Canberra. Blocks of ice the size of golf balls fell from the sky, pelting everything in their path, particularly around the country's Parliament building. People outside frantically ran for cover, while drivers in their cars desperately sought underground parking or shelter.
Nevertheless, several vehicles and building windows were damaged by the hail, and several trees were stripped of their vegetation.
And in what has become a recurring theme in recent months in Australia, the storm injured several birds. Passerby Tom Swann found an injured cockatoo that "screeched horribly" as he tried to take it to the nearest veterinarian. As he would later find out, several other passersby had the same idea.
"Someone behind us at the vet brought in another galah, another brought a currawong, another a crow," he said.
Meanwhile, the storm is expected to move east, targeting the cities of Sydney, Wollongong, and Newcastle.
"Damaging winds (possibly destructive), large hailstones (possibly giant) and heavy rainfall [are expected]," said the Australia Bureau of Meteorology.