Guwahati: A severe and unexpected hailstorm hit Meghalaya’s capital Shillong Wednesday, leaving the city’s streets caked in white just days before Christmas.
A scientist with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in Meghalaya said this was unusual, adding that, in the past decade, there have been just 3-4 instances of hailstorms in the state during winter season.
What appeared to be “pre-Christmas” snow covering the rooftops was actually small-sized hailstones, explained the scientist, who did not wish to be named.
“Hailstorms do occur in Shillong during the winter season, but it is not like this every year (referring to the intensity). In the past 10 years, there have been 3-4 instances of hailstorms during the winter season,” he added.
The scientist said that no cold wave had been reported on the day, but a hailstorm is likely to occur when there is “some instability in the atmosphere and sufficient moisture is available”.
In this case, the minimum temperature had reached 6°C and there was a “cyclonic situation over Bangladesh”, the IMD reportedly said. Bangladesh and Meghalaya share a border.
A hailstorm occurs when raindrops are carried upwards into the atmosphere and freeze and turn into ice pellets, while snow is ice crystals that form when water vapour in the air freezes at a temperature of below 0 degrees.
Many took to Twitter and expressed their jubilation over the white surprise days before Christmas.
“Looks great but I feel numb!” wrote Jade Lyngdoh, a researcher.
Hailstorm in Shillong. Looks great but I feels numb! pic.twitter.com/tACvMLUOwu
— Jade Lyngdoh (@jadelyngdoh_) December 22, 2021
Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha member Arvind Damani was among others who tweeted about it.
On my first pravas as Incharge of @bjymmeghalaya , and it’s snowfall in upper Shillong area. Hailstorm in the city as well.
Amazing but freezing weather. pic.twitter.com/AfqO7WdiPc
— Arvind Damani (@arvinddamani) December 22, 2021
“It started to feel a lot like Christmas,” posted another Twitter user, @PanborKB.
Others took to social media to share how they made “creative use of the hailstones” by building snowpeople.
— Banjop (@dvonney) December 22, 2021
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)