Its not uncommon to have hail storms in Malaysia, especially with global warming in the picture.
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Things got a bit chilly in Malaysia this week when hail showers were reported in parts of Kedah, Perak and the Klang Valley.
Social media was flooded with videos and images of ice falling from the sky in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur and Selama, Perak on Wednesday (3 March) afternoon, while a similar storm was reported in Kubang Pasu, Kedah that same day.
Although the storm sent most people ducking for cover, others marvelled at the wondrous phenomenon – even grabbing a few frozen souvenirs along the way.
Fortunately, no injuries or severe property damage were reported from the event.
What the ‘hail’ is going on?
Though rare, it’s not too uncommon for hail storms to occur here in these parts of the world.
Hailstones are basically precipitation or water in the atmosphere that falls down to earth like rain and snow.
Hail forms when drops of water, which would typically fall as rain, are instead pushed upwards by strong updrafts into the upper, colder regions of a storm cloud.
These raindrops then freeze together into chunks of ice, forming layer by layer as more water freezes onto the hailstone’s surface.
Once it becomes too heavy for the wind to carry it upwards, or if the updraft weakens or stops, these ice chunks that can measure between 5 millimeters to 15 centimeters then fall to the ground as hail.
According to Prof Fredolin Tangang, Chairman of the Department of Earth Sciences and Environment at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), here in Malaysia, hail would occur during episodes of deep atmospheric convection or when towering cumulonimbus clouds form way up in the sky, in just the right conditions.
It needs the right ingredient; plenty of moisture, heat and no strong wind aloft…UKM Department of Earth Sciences and Environment Chairman Prof Fredolin Tangang.
The Professor explains that these conditions are typically present during Malaysia’s inter-monsoon periods (check out our previous article, HERE, to find out more about Malaysia’s monsoon seasons) during the months of April and May, as well as between September and October when strong winds hit the country from multiple directions, causing thunderstorms and in some occasions, hail to fall.
Curiously, we asked Prof. Fredolin weather Malaysia would be experiencing more hailstorms in the coming future, with global warming, climate change and what not, going on. And his answer seems to be pointing in the direction of a, YES.
It is a bit uncommon but it happened before and it can happen again… It is possible due to the higher availability of moisture and heat.UKM Department of Earth Sciences and Environment Chairman Prof Fredolin Tangang.
In fact, Perak residence had experienced a similar hail shower in 2020 which also caused quite the chatter, then.
Hujan batu kome di Ipoh. Harap semua berhati-hati di luar. Yang tengah buat delivery makanan, boleh berhenti terlebih dahulu. Kami memahami sebaiknya. pic.twitter.com/Q0BouFZXJA— Moh! (@MohKeIpoh) May 20, 2020
Hujan Ais batu kat Ipoh, mau benjol dahi kena ais batu kecik2 gini huhu pic.twitter.com/eZWymVTsPi— #TeamRayaSelangor 🕌 (@fazliwazil_) May 20, 2020
Here’s to hoping we don’t need to be wearing helmets out in a storm in the days to come.
Typing out trending topics and walking the fine line between deep and dumb.