Temperatures on Saturday 12 July were as hot as 37C – or 99F – in Siberia’s largest city, Novosibirsk, the day the hail cloudburst struck. Suddenly in late afternoon heavy winds hit the sandy beach between two bridges across the Ob River, the fifth longest in the world.
Swimmers waded out of the water covering their heads. They shielded themselves under parasols and blow-up sun beds to stay clear of the giant hailstones. Some children were in tears, sheltering under trees, as the hail bombardment struck the beach vicinity.
Grassy areas near the beach were left covered in a white sheen of hail after the storm – which lasted a matter of minutes – ended. Footage by several local people was uploaded on the internet soon after the freak storm.