Hail

Heat and hail.

Yesterday’s brief hailstorm in Arouca was not a sign that the end was nigh, though.

It was a completely normal, but rare phenomenon.

Social media pages were littered with videos and photos of the pea-sized ice solids that began falling from the sky shortly after 1 p.m., concentrated between Arouca and Tacarigua.

The Express contacted the Meteorological Office in Piarco, who confirmed the reports and explained why it happened.

Senior Meteorologist Carol Subrath-Ali said the right conditions were present which began with the afternoon’s very well-developed thunderstorm that had been concentrated mostly over East Trinidad.

She said yesterday’s temperatures with a high of almost 34 degrees amid humid conditions led to the formation of what a “well-developed thunderstorm.”

She said within the storm, there were strong rising motions inside the cloud known as up-draughts and strong descending motions known as down-draughts, “so these up-draughts took raindrops into the cold areas of the cloud and they formed ice pieces”.

With the ice pellets in the upper sections of the cloud becoming too heavy they fell and under normal circumstances would have melted before striking earth. However, according to Subrath-Ali, when the ice particles got caught in the down-draught there was no time for the particles to melt and they descended quickly, striking the ground as hail.

She said that this has happened before in tropical regions but was rare and “very common in temperate regions”.

Yesterday’s high temperatures are expected to continue today with a scorching 34 degrees Celsius expected.

In a statement posted to social media, the Met Office predicted, “Generally sunny conditions will be interrupted by partly cloudy/cloudy periods with showers in some areas by late morning/ afternoon.

“Showers will likely be heavy at times and there is the 60 per cent (medium) chance of isolated thunderstorms in a few areas while Tuesday night is expected to be partly cloudy with showers in a few areas.”

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