Snowdrifts piled up on the roads of Russia's Ural region on Saturday as an abnormal summer snowstorm hit the region, bringing the area into the spotlight once again after last year's meteorite fall. Siberia also witnessed a downpour of giant hailstones.
Residents of the cities of Chelyabinsk and Ekaterinburg, located in Russia's Urals, were taken aback when it suddenly started snowing in the middle of summer on Saturday. Photos and videos quickly emerged on social networks showing snow-covered green grass in the middle of July.
— Алла Шумихина (@gotskaya) July 12, 2014
Local media reported snowdrifts along roads, adding that the
temperature dropped from over 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees
Fahrenheit) to almost zero on Saturday.
“Chelyabinsk weather is that harsh...” a user on social network Vkontakte sarcastically wrote while commenting on a video depicting the heavy snowstorm.
The local emergencies service issued a warning, recommending
residents to be careful and to refrain from using their cars.
Chelyabinsk entered the international spotlight last year when a meteorite exploded in the sky over the city with the strength of 40 Hiroshima bombs, causing extensive property damage.
Also on Saturday, the eastern Siberian city of Novosibirsk
witnessed an unusual downpour of hailstones. Local media reported
some to be the size of golf balls or hen eggs.
A video emerged on YouTube showing a beach on the banks of the Ob River. At first, the footage shows the usual summer scenes of beachgoers enjoying themselves while swimming, sunbathing, and playing games.
A few seconds later, the weather suddenly changes – strong winds start blowing and tearing of branches off nearby trees. The sky goes dark and freakishly large balls of hail start shooting from the sky.
The beach was covered with a white sheet of hail just one minute after the storm started. The footage shows people running and covering their heads in search for shelter as the scene unfolds.
A scared female voice can be heard saying “If we die, I love
you.” The hail was so dense that the other bank of the river
was not visible at the time of the storm.
The hail was then replaced by heavy rain, flooding nearby streets and parking areas. Local media reported that the wind knocked down several trees and hail broke windows in some apartment blocks.
— БРОВИ ХИМЧАНА (@A_chan_96) July 12, 2014
A storm warning was issued in Novosibirsk for Sunday and Monday.
No casualties have yet been reported.
Siberia is known for its freezing temperatures in winter, but in some parts of the vast eastern region – which stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific and Arctic – the summer temperatures are similar to the Mediterranean.