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Hail hits Mauke a second time

Tuesday August 14, 2018 Written by Published in Weather

People on Mauke are baffled after hail fell on the island for the second time this year, on Sunday night.

 

Their first experience of this unusual weather phenomenon was in June during the daytime, unlike the latest fall, which took place between 8pm and 9pm.

The heavy pelting of the hailstones, balls or irregular lumps of ice, could be clearly heard in a live video feed on Facebook from the island. The videographer also shared footage of the hailstones.

A Mauke resident, who did not want to be identified, said the hail lasted for about 20 minutes.

While the children enjoyed the rare occurrence, the elders were worried as to what was causing this unusual weather phenomenon, she said.

“This is the second time it happened in Mauke and we are not sure whether this will be the last time. From what I gather, it happened back in the 1970s but this is the first time it happened twice in a year.

“For the elders on the island, we think it has something to do with climate change. For many of us, this is our first experience of a hailstorm.”

She also said the island had been experiencing cold weather for the past two months and plenty of rain lately.

“Some of the people who recently returned home from Te Maeva Nui celebrations in Rarotonga are also saying that it’s cooler on the island than in Rarotonga.

“This is also quite unusual for us because normally we don’t have such (prolonged) cold sessions.”

Meteorological Service officer Manea Maretapu said they were aware of the hail on Mauke.

He said the weather phenomenon was possible within most thunderstorms as it was produced by cumulonimbus cloud.

“Hail forms when thunderstorms updrafts are strong enough to carry water droplets, while above freezing level. The freezing process forms the hailstones which can grow as additional water freezes into it. Eventually, the hailstone becomes too heavy for updraft to support and it falls to the ground,” Maretapu said.