If you found yourself in Guangzhou’s Baiyun, Tianhe or Haizhu districts yesterday afternoon, February 21, you may have witnessed a meteorological phenomenon that is often considered a rarity in sub-tropical regions such as our own: falling ice balls (aka hail).
According to the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Meteorology’s official Weibo account, the hail struck yesterday at around 2.20pm and orange warnings for hail were issued in Baiyun, Huangpu, Tianhe and Yuexiu. Baiyun, Huangpu and Zengcheng districts issued yellow warnings for severe rainfall, while every district aside from Panyu and Nansha issued yellow warnings for thunderstorms and heavy winds.
Image via @广州交通电台/Weibo
The hail fell in spite of temperatures as high as 25 degrees Celsius in parts of the city yesterday afternoon, something that is relatively rare, although not unheard of. Back in August of 2016, ice pellets fell from the sky in Yuexiu and Baiyun despite the fact the city was blanketed in sweltering 38-degree heat.
In April of 2017, a digit avalanche of photos cropped up online showing Guangzhouers posing with half-melted ice balls after the city was hit with a hail storm.
Screengrab via WeChat
Although common sense would dictate ice in such temperatures is unlikely, it turns out hail in the summer is actually not all that strange. According to The Weather Network, hail is common during the summer, as hot surface temperatures create conditions for large thunderstorms and upper atmosphere temperatures cold enough to support ice.
According to the weather watchers over at the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Meteorology, hailstorms are most likely to occur in Guangzhou between March and May, although they can strike anytime between February and October.
While all of these images were posted yesterday, That’s would like to stress that we cannot independently verify when and where each photo was captured.
[Cover image via Ms. Li]