Mexican city hit by freak hailstorm

The accumulation of hail in the streets of Guadalajara buried vehicles and damaged about 200 homes and businesses on Sunday.
The accumulation of hail in the streets of Guadalajara buried vehicles and damaged about 200 homes and businesses on Sunday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

GUADALAJARA (Mexico) • A freak hailstorm struck Guadalajara, one of Mexico's most populous cities, shocking residents and trapping vehicles in a deluge of ice pellets up to 2m deep.

"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 the capital Mexico City and with a population of around five million, has been experiencing summer temperatures of around 31 deg C in recent days.

While seasonal hailstorms do occur, there is no record of anything so heavy.

At least six neighbourhoods in the city outskirts woke up to ice pellets up to 2m deep on Sunday.

While children scampered around and hurled iceballs at each other, Civil Protection personnel and soldiers brought out heavy machinery to clear the roads.

Owners of 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", said the state Civil Protection office.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2019, with the headline 'Mexican city hit by freak hailstorm'. Print Edition | Subscribe