Parts of Guadalajara were buried in ice more than a meter deep yesterday morning after a heavy hailstorm that damaged at least 450 homes and 60 cars.
The storm began at around 1:30am, blanketing streets in neighborhoods in the southwest of the Jalisco capital such as Rancho Blanco, Álamos Oriente and Álamo Industrial in a thick layer of ice.
Some cars parked on affected streets were completely buried in the hail, while scores of other vehicles including large trucks were stranded by the freak storm.
The hail also blocked drains, preventing the escape of rainwater, which caused flooding in several areas of the affected neighborhoods.
Photographs of the masses of hail and the damage it caused began appearing on social media early yesterday morning. Many people expressed incredulity about the situation in which they awoke. Other images showed children playing in what appeared to be a winter wonderland.
Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro posted several images to his Twitter account of authorities working to clear the hail from streets using both heavy machinery and shovels.
“In coordination with the Mexican army and the municipal authorities of Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque, the Jalisco government is working on the clean-up and removal of hail from public streets as well as supporting citizens who suffered damage to their homes,” he wrote.
In subsequent posts, the governor blamed the storm on climate change. He said there were no reports of any injuries or deaths, although Civil Protection authorities said later that two people were treated for early signs of hypothermia.
“Very early, before going to Mexico City for the launch of the National Guard, I was on the scene to evaluate the situation and I was witness to scenes that I’d never seen before: hail more than a meter high, and then we wonder if climate change exists,” Alfaro wrote.
CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said that low pressure systems extending south from the Mexico-United States border had been forecast to contribute to storms along the boundary separating different air masses.
“Once these storms developed, all the ingredients came together for there to be this strange hailstorm over Guadalajara,” he said.
Guy also said that the city’s location at more than 1,500 meters above sea level contributed to the rapid development of the hailstorm.
“. . . This was a case where atmospheric and topographic ingredients came into play to cause a freakish hail storm,” he said.
Residents of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, awoke to similar scenes this morning.
Heavy hail fell over the city in the early hours, leaving streets blanketed in white while floodwaters almost half a meter deep have been reported in some streets in the downtown area.
Mayor Luis Alberto Villareal said on Twitter this morning that municipal and Civil Protection authorities are responding to the situation to “protect the well-being of all San Miguel de Allende residents.”
There have been no reports of injuries or casualties.