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Hailstorm in hot tropics?

/ 07:16 AM May 19, 2012

“THE hail storm in Pinamungajan was a first in Cebu,” said Al Quiblat, senior weather specialist in Mactan.

“Everyone was shocked because a hail storm seldom happens in a tropical country.”

The radar in the Pag-asa station in Mactan recorded thunderstorms in three parts of Central Visayas at l:07 p.m. on Thursday – Toledo City and Pinamungahan town in western Cebu and in Bohol province.

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Pinamungajan showed the strongest at 100% Severe Weather Probability (SWP), while Toledo was 24% and Bohol at 52%, said Alice Canasa, weather specialist.

Canasa said the strong wind and hail stones was a “normal occurrence” in a thunder storm, but she couldn’t explain why this happened for the first time ever in Cebu.

Quiblat, meanwhile, offered the theory that “because of too much hot weather, the evaporation of ice in the atmosphere increases and can trigger the formation of hail which I think is what happened in Pinamungajan.”

Residents said it a very hot day on Thursday but that dark clouds in the sky suddenly appeared around 11:30 a.m. followed by falling hail stones.

In 2010, a hail storm also occurred in some parts of Metro Manila in the middle of the day.

“A hail storm is unpredictable. We can’t even predict the movement of clouds. A hail storm can happen anytime.” Quiblat said

A hail storm begins when raindrops freeze into small ice called nucleus before it reaches the earth, said Quiblat. It accumulates more ice and later melts in the thunderclouds. When are heavy enough, they fall on earth like rain, he said.

Hail stones can range in size from small pellets of ice to balls or irregular lumps up to 6 inches.

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Hail is formed in cumulonimbus clouds or thunderclouds.

Canasa said this takes place when there is a strong, upward motion of air in a thunderstorm and drops in temperature to freezing level.

“It didn’t turn into rain because the cumulonimbus clouds are close to the earth surface. But there’s nothing to worry about it. It’s just a normal phenomenon,” she said./Correspodent. Careen L. Malahay Fe Marie D. Dumaboc Fe Marie D. Dumaboc

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TAGS: Pinamungajan, Severe Weather Probability (SWP)
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