Hailstones the size of softballs and tennis balls fell from the sky on Wednesday in the Catalonia region of Spain, with one city official describing the storm as “10 minutes of terror.”
A 20-month-old girl died after being hit by a hailstone during a violent storm that wreaked havoc in the Catalonia region of northeastern Spain on Wednesday, according to authorities.
The toddler was rushed to the Josep Trueta Hospital in the nearby city of Girona but died overnight from her injuries, the hospital said in a statement.
According to Catalonia’s meteorological service, hailstones nearly 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, or the size of a softball, rained down in the village of La Bisbal d’Emporda, which is north of Barcelona, on Tuesday afternoon.
“The hail only fell for 10 minutes, but it was 10 minutes of terror,” Carme Vall, a city councilor in La Bisbal d’Emporda, told radio RAC1, the BBC reported.
At least 50 other injuries – from bruises to bone fractures – were reported from the ferocious storm.
⚡Hail hit parts of Spain during a storm.
A baby girl was killed, 50 people were injured. pic.twitter.com/0erLHacqG1
— Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil (@ivan_8848) September 1, 2022
Across La Bisbal d’Emporda, windows were shattered, cars were dented and roofs were destroyed by the powerful force of the massive hailstones, which were the largest on record to ever fall in the town.
According to the meteorological service, the last time a hailstone close to this size fell in the area was in 2002.
“There was chaos, with little boys and girls running around alone; some parents were able to grab their children,” musician Sicus Carbonell told Reuters.
Nature has its own gun. If we don’t respect it in natural way it uses its gun.
Look at #hailstorm it happend 24 hours ago in #spain. Fell down with 100 km/hour speed and killed a 20 month child. In last day of August.#GlobalWarming is important and has many effects. pic.twitter.com/M9atwqOicY
— NatureNeedsUs🌱🌍♻️💚💙 (@Nature_NeedsUs) September 1, 2022
Carbonell and his band were playing under a canvas-covered terrace when the hailstorm started.
“A hailstone broke through the fabric…and I told my group that either we get into the restaurant or one of those tennis balls would land on us and we wouldn’t make it,” Carbonell said.
The meteorological service explained that hailstorms occur throughout the year but are more common between March and September.
Millions of ice cubes from the sky destroy Spain! Hail storm strikes Girona. Valencia pic.twitter.com/FlvI4fBqLz
— #كابتن_غازي_عبداللطيف (@CaptainGhazi) August 30, 2022
“This summer, hailstones have been common since the end of July and during the month of August,” the meteorological service wrote in a press release.
The meteorological service explained that the scorching temperatures this summer across Europe have resulted in higher-than-average water temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea, which have fueled storms with ample amounts of moisture and instability.
— PCA Abdullah official (@PCAAbdullah313) August 31, 2022
Death by hail is rare, but it does occur. NOAA’s storm events database lists 15 hail deaths in the United States since 1950, all in Colorado. The most recent fatality was April 7, 2020. [AccuWeather]