From Mask to Helmet, Hailstorm Pounds on Singapore, No Relation to Cloud Seeding Over Indonesia
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | June 26, 2013 2:35 PM EST
A hailstorm, by far a very rare occurrence in Singapore, pounded the island nation on Tuesday. But government environment authorities stressed the weather disturbance has no relation at all to the ongoing cloud seeding over Indonesia.
The hailstorm, which started in western Singapore at around 3 pm on Tuesday and affected several parts of Singapore, was considered a welcome relief as it managed to somehow lift the haze clouding the city-state for the past few weeks now.
The country's National Environment Agency (NEA) immediately clarified the hailstorm experience does not have any relation at all to the ongoing cloud seeding over in neighbour Indonesia. And most importantly, it was not toxic.
"The hailstorm which hit certain parts of western Singapore is not toxic," a spokesman for NEA said in a media conference.
Hail is caused when super-cooled droplets of water come into contact with particles such as dust and freeze on contact. They are not considered hazardous. Although the hailstorm could have been caused by the haze, NEA said it has yet to confirm such theory.
"The wind suddenly turned very cold, and these crystal-like stones started raining down. It was very frightening. I could not believe my eyes," Laura Tang told Yahoo! News.
Fitness trainer Koh Zhen Rong, who took refuge inside his car, told Asia One he heard what sounded like "seeds dropping" over the roof of his automobile.
"The torrent came in a five-minute burst; something was clanging on my windows and I went to my front door to see what was going on," Lucas Ho, a playwright and teacher, told The Straits Times. "I never thought I'd see hail in Singapore."
"[They were] very sharp droplets that were a little prickly, like sand, when it landed on my hand," 24-year-old banking executive Caydence Woo said. "The droplets also looked weird. They were coming down in straight, solid lines, instead of one by one.
No casualties were reported from the hailstorm, but it did create minor damage to property around Singapore.
Strong winds that came with the hail storm uprooted trees, creating massive traffic jams during and after the heavy downpour. Affected roads were Bukit Batok Road, Toh Guan Road and Old Jurong Road.
The falling trees and branches damaged at least three cars that were parked at the open-air carpark on Toh Guan East Road and on Bukit Batok West Avenue 2.
The ice pellets that fell on Singapore on Tuesday were as large as 50-cent coins, according to Ang Lam Toh, a retiree.
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