Hail fell during Christmas Eve thunderstorm,  residents claim
January 3, 2014
Hail fell during Christmas Eve thunderstorm, residents claim

The trough system that passed on Christmas Eve brought with it many surprises and oddities, but one of the strangest, which has been widely reported, is that hail fell in the northern parts of St Vincent during the weather system.{{more}}

Debra Dyer, a community health worker who lives at Roux Hill just above the Richmond hydro plant, said that around 10 on Christmas Eve she was at home when she heard a strange noise on her roof. She said it didn’t sound like rain, so she went to the window to look, and saw some snow-like, small objects falling.

“I called out to Fica to come and see and she took some pictures,” Dyer said.

While many others reported hearing and seeing hail fall, Esron Thompson, proprietor of the Beachfront restaurant located between Fitzhughes and Chateaubelair, told SEARCHLIGHT that he actually touched the ice. Thompson said that he was at his restaurant with friends and a few customers waiting out the weather.

“The electricity had already gone, so it was a little after 10 when I heard a strange noise on the roof of the outdoor section”, Thompson said.

“It sounded like a dog dragging a chain across the galvanize to me; it didn’t sound like rain to me at all,” he said.

According to Thompson, some persons present began to say that La Soufriere was erupting and what was being heard was ashes falling on the roof.

“On a whim I went outside and said ‘Is Soufriere.’ Then my sister came out and spotted her flashlight at the eave of the roof and that is when I spotted the piece of ice”, Thompson said.

The businessman said the piece of ice was about the size of a shirt button and that three other persons, including his sister Christiania and Charles Burke of Troumaca, were able to touch it before it dissolved.

“At first I said that it was snow, but someone who had lived in Canada said that it must be hail, and I could go with that,” Thompson said.

Burke, a public servant, and Christiania corroborated Thompson’s story.

Burke said that it was the strangest thing he had ever seen and he was so shocked at the time, he didn’t even think to take a photograph.

According to Wikipedia, hail is pellets of frozen rain which fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds. Hailstones measure between 5 millimetres and 15 centimetres in diameter. Hail forms in strong thunderstorm clouds, particularly those with intense updrafts, high liquid water content, great vertical extent, large water droplets and where a good portion of the cloud layer is below freezing.

Despite hail being more common in temperate climates, it is not impossible in the tropics. According to Wikipedia, even though hail is less common in the tropics, despite a much higher frequency of thunderstorms, hail can occur in the tropics at higher altitudes.(TY)