Suriname experiences first “freak” hail storm in decades

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Suriname hailPARAMARIBO, Suriname, CMC – “It’s raining ice outside,” a young woman in southern Paramaribo yelled on Thursday night as she ran out into her yard, using her smart phone to record the history making event.

Rocks of ice rattled her zinc roof and that of her neighbours.

“Here, see, it’s hailing in Suriname,” she said, as social media became alive with Surinamese bloggers recounting their experiences of the unprecedented weather phenomenon.

“I was home when it happened. I saw it too,” radio journalist Rudi Esajas reported. He said it had not been particularly cold when the hail started. “Just a bit more than usual, and when it stopped hailing, the clouds opened up and it briefly rained really hard,” he added.

The hail lasted at least four minutes and was experienced mainly in Flora and Uitvlugt, the southern neighbourhoods of the city.

National disaster officials Friday reported there was little or no damage. There were also no reports of personal injuries even as citizens recounted stories of their cars and houses “being pelted with stones”.

“I never thought I would experience this in Suriname,” an elderly lady said. The hail rocks were about the size of grapes. The Meteorological Office said it was not the first time it hailed in Suriname.

“Hail is a form of precipitation. At the moment a height disturbance is influencing our area, causing the atmosphere to be instable, which is a condition for “cumulonimbus” clouds that lead to rain. The average cumulonimbus clouds holds ice crystals and hail, but usually these melt before they reach the earth surface.

“Obviously Thursday night the cloud in question hovered low above the earth, or the hail rocks were large enough in size to make it all the way down,” said meteorologist Truus Warsodikromo.

She did not say when last it hailed in Suriname, but unconfirmed reports indicate that the weather system was experienced in the 1950s.

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