A freak summer hail storm buried cars and blanketed the cities of Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque, Mexico June 30, with news reports placing the total ice accumulation between three feet and two metres.
The scene drew widespread comparisons to a post-apocalyptic movie, with the governor of Jalisco State, on the country’s Pacific coast, connecting dots faster than any climate attribution study could keep up.
“I witnessed scenes that I had never seen before: hail more than a metre high,” tweeted Enrique Alfaro. “And then we ask ourselves if climate change exists.”
“Despite the dramatic nature of the extreme weather event, no injuries were reported,” the New York Times states, though TreeHugger reports two people with “early signs of hypothermia”. Up to that point, recent temperatures had been in the upper 80s on the Fahrenheit scale.
“Experts say it is not unusual to have a hailstorm at this time of year in western Mexico, but the amount was extreme,” the Times notes. “While hail storms in the summer are not at all unheard of, the drama of this one does inspire questions,” TreeHugger adds. “It’s hard to blame one-off weather events on climate change, but scientists have predicted that with climate change, we will be seeing fewer, but more intense hail storms.”
University of Reading meteorologist Chris Westbrook attributed the sudden, intense storm to warm, moist air rising into the atmosphere in the mountainous region, then cooling fast to form heavy balls of ice. “Fundamentally, hailstorms are not unusual in this part of the world,” he told the Times. “What is unusual is that the conditions were just right to get an awful lot in one go.”