Freak hailstorm buries Guadalajara, Mexico, in seven feet of slush

In this photo released by Jalisco State Civil Defense Agency, a bulldozer removes hail filling the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico, Sunday, June 30, 2019.


By THERESA BRAINE | New York Daily News | Published: July 1, 2019

NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — Summer hailstorms are routine in parts of Mexico, especially Mexico City, the country’s capital. But what happened Sunday in Guadalajara, the country’s second-largest metropolis and capital of the state of Jalisco was beyond the pale.

An estimated 7 feet of hail inundated the 5-million population city, sweeping away dozens of cars and flooding streets 2 meters deep in slush.

“I’ve never seen such scenes in Guadalajara,” said Jalisco state Governor Enrique Alfaro to Agence France-Presse, noting that it’s a wakeup call for climate change deniers. “Then we ask ourselves if climate change is real. These are never-before-seen natural phenomena. It’s incredible.”

The deluge appeared to fill the streets in a matter of minutes, then rushed along in rivers throughout parts of the city, reported El Debate Noticias.

About 200 homes and businesses were damaged in the pellet pummeling, according to AFP. Fifty or more vehicles were swept away in hilly areas, and some were buried under the ice chunks.

Children frolicked, but it took heavy machinery and military assistance to dig out, AFP reported.

Hail can be part of a routine rainy season, especially in Mexico City. It’s formed from warm, moist air that rises upward into high atmospheric altitudes while forming summer storms. If it gets high enough, BBC News explained, it hits below-freezing temperatures, and ice crystals form, then become encased in more ice that forms pellets around that center.

During especially severe thunderstorms, BBC News said, the pellets become heavy enough to plummet to Earth.

The official rainy season is generally through July, august and September, according to GDL Tours, a tourism company that keeps weather statistics. Temperatures this time of year generally top out at 83 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows of 55 degrees at night, and typical rainfall of 10.6 inches for the month. Total yearly rainfall is about 37 inches, GDL Tours said.

The freakish storm pounded the northwestern Mexican city overnight, CNN reported. The storm happened along a boundary between two air masses extending south from the U.S.-Mexico border, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.

“Once these storms developed, all the ingredients came together for there to be this strange hailstorm over Guadalajara,” Guy told CNN. “This was a case where atmospheric and topographic ingredients came into play to cause a freakish hail storm.”

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