Surprise golf-ball-sized Hailstorm Causes Panic on Russian Beach (Video)
A relaxing day at the beach turned into a nightmare for swimmers and sunbathers in western Siberia when a cyclone spewing golf-ball-sized hail tore into the area within seconds.
In a video uploaded to YouTube on Saturday, beachgoers in Siberia's largest city, Novosibirsk, can be seen making the most of the sunny, 37 degree Celsius (100 degree Fahrenheit) weather before a quick change in fortunes sees the temperature drop about 20 C as the hailstorm advances upon the city.
As the winds start to pick up, the bathers — many of whom are wearing nothing but their swimwear — can be seen slowly gathering their possessions together, before a downpour of ice leaves people covering their heads as they run for shelter. The hail can be seen hitting the river in an image reminiscent of a war scene.
As the video continues, people can be seen hiding behind towels and under parasols as pieces of debris swirl in the air around them. A lone swimmer emerges from the nearby river sheltering her face and looking somewhat bedraggled.
According to the regional weather bureau, the extreme weather front witnessed over the weekend in Siberia was also experienced in towns and cities across Russia's Ural Mountain region, and was an extremely rare phenomenon.
"The last time such an event [happened] in the middle of July was 100 years ago. In 1912-1914 there was a cold snap and freshly fallen snow," said Galina Sheporenko, a senior forecaster at the Urals weather bureau, local news agency UralInformBuro reported.
While the region's residents can expect warmer weather in the short term, temperatures may cool again in the second half of the week, the report added.