As if the haze hasn’t left Singapore stunned and dashing for masks, now hail descends upon the island in a freak storm on Tuesday, June 25. A City News writer shares his personal account.
The day started out bright sunny and humid, just like the past two days. I never would have expected what was to come later today: for the first time in my 30-something years of life, I witnessed a hail storm. In tropical Singapore.
It started out “innocently” at one in the afternoon with rain. That alone was surprising, considering the dry skies that had just seen extremely high levels of haze last week. The rain got progressively heavier and some large branches of trees were literally ripped off the trees; some smaller trees were even uprooted.
I was at my desk in my office when, at around 3pm, there was a sound like pebbles hitting windows, and its frequency increased progressively. Many curious colleagues and I looked out the window, and to our surprise, we saw mini “ice cubes”, cylindrical in shape and about as big as paperclip, pelting against our office window.
Being Singaporeans, many of us took out their cellphones to record the hailstorm. It was indeed an eye opener for many—it was likely their first time witnessing a hailstorm too. Personally I was anxious for it to be over (and I’m sure some other drivers would be too) as there was a chance my car would be damaged by the hailstorm, especially if the hailstones got bigger. I’m sure many like me also wondered if their motor insurance covered such damage!
The hailstorm lasted for about 15 minutes. Then it was just rain again—the sort of delicious showers we had wished for last week when the PSI level hit 401 in Singapore.
Strange but true: this wasn’t the first time Singapore recorded a hailstorm. The National Environment Agency revealed that the last hailstorm reported was over central Singapore in March 2008.
Hail is a form of rain and can measure up to 50 mm in diameter. They usually melt before they hit the ground.
Despite rumours that the hail was the result of cloud-seeding efforts by Indonesia, NEA says this is not so.
It’s a rare occurrence, hail. But just in case, I am parking my car under shelter tomorrow.