Large hailstones kill at least one, injure dozens in Spain



A sudden hailstorm in the Catalonia region of Spain caused people to take cover on Tuesday, with the nearly four-inch hailstones killing a toddler and injuring about 50 others, according to Reuters reporting.

The hailstones the size of a softball hit the Spanish village of La Bisbal d’Empordà. Social media video depicts the hailstones landing like rockets in a backyard pool and launching large splashes into the sky. Another video shows the aftermath of the hail storm with car windows smashed, obliterated by the falling ice.

The hailstones began to fall when a band played a set on a canvas-covered patio of a local hotel, causing chaos at the venue, musician Sicus Carbonell told Reuters.

“There was chaos, with little boys and girls running around alone, some parents were able to grab their kids,” Carbonell told Reuters. “Then a hailstone broke through the fabric… and I told my group we’ll either enter the restaurant or one of those tennis balls would land on us and we wouldn’t make it.”

A storm brought massive hailstones to La Bisbal d’Empordà, Spain, on Aug. 30, damaging cars and injuring residents. (Video: The Washington Post)

Broken bones and bruises were the most common injuries caused by the sudden barrage. A 20-month-old girl was killed when one of the hailstones hit her in the head.

“We have had the terrible case of the little girl who was hit by a rock,” La Bisbal d’Empordà mayor, Carme Vall, told Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE on Wednesday morning, according to The Guardian reporting. “There wasn’t much that could be done for her and she died today. It was a terrible accident.”

Five things to know about hail like ‘yes, it happens in the summer’

Hailstones rarely kill or injure people, making Tuesday’s hailstorm highly unusual in Spain. Forecasting and warning systems usually allow people to take shelter, meaning most of the hail damage is to cars and homes — which can be significant.

The hailstones that swept across Catalonia on Tuesday were the largest recorded in Spain since at least 2002, according to the Catalan meteorological agency Meteocat. tweeted. The thunderstorms that caused the hail were caused by a cold front approaching western Europe from the Atlantic Ocean.

Hailstorms can be multi-billion dollar disasters, smashing roofs and smashing glass in a widespread area. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at least two hailstorms accounted for more than $1 billion in 2022. Remarkably, those hailstorms hit nearly the same area — parts of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin — just 10 days apart.

In the country’s ‘hail alley’, fierce storms and explosive growth are on a costly collision course

But dangerous hailstorms have already led to deaths and injuries in the United States. In 2018, a devastating hailstorm hit parts of Colorado, killing many animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and injuring at least 14 people.

“One person’s watch exploded when it was hit by hail, and another was hit in the head so hard it dented his helmet,” said Bob Chastain, the zoo’s director.

In the United States, only three people have died from hailstones in 2020, according to the Category 6 weather blog.

The deadliest hailstorm ever recorded occurred in Uttar Pradesh, India, in 1888. Hail the size of oranges fell, killing 246 people and hundreds of livestock, according to a report in the journal Weather, Climate, and Society.

‘Gargantuan’ Argentine hailstone in 2018 may have surpassed world record

The largest hailstone ever recorded in the United States fell in 2010 in Vivian, SD. The hailstone was a whopping 8 inches in diameter and weighed a record 1,9375 pounds, breaking previous records set in 2003 and 1970, respectively. The hailstone was probably even larger when it fell, as melting and sublimation caused the stone to shrink before it could be verified by the National Weather Service.

However, some believe that larger hailstones have fallen on Earth. A hailstone that fell in Argentina may have been up to 9.3 inches in diameter, meaning it would break the record if verified. The storm produced at least one giant 7.1-inch rock, which was kept safely in a freezer for official measurements.

“The hail lasted twenty minutes. It was a little scary,” said Victoria Druetta, grabbing the stone. “It hit and then exploded and melted some. It was probably even bigger.”

Precious hailstorms are increasing rapidly. Here’s what the weather community is doing about it.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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