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Violent hail storm bombards Istanbul, leaves at least 10 injured

istanbul-hailstorm-july-27-2017

A severe storm hit Istanbul, Turkey's most populated city, on Thursday, July 27, 2017, with heavy rain, strong winds and hail stones up to 9 cm (3.5 inches) wide. The storm caused widespread damage and injured at least 10 people. The city was hit by a similar storm on July 18, leaving most of it under water.

Thursday's storm lasted only 20 minutes but it hit during the evening rush hour and was so violent that it managed to knock down trees, damage buildings and cars, disrupt both road and air traffic and cause new rounds of flash flooding throughout the city. Several airplanes landing at Istanbul's Ataturk sustained major hail damage. 

Officials said that 7 000 emergency workers were called in to help after the storm uprooted 230 trees, destroyed 90 roofs and sparked fires across the city. Strong winds toppled a large crane that landed on oil barrels at a port, causing an explosion and a fire that injured at least one person.

Eurasia Tunnel, which connects Istanbul's Asian and European sides under the Bosporus Strait, was closed as a precaution again.

In just 12 hours, the city received 22 mm (0.86 inches) of rain, which is more than half the July average of 32.5 mm (1.3 inches), but still way below the July 18th storm. That one brought 128 mm (5 inches) of rain within the first 12 hours, Istanbul's heaviest rainfall since 1985.

At the peak of Thursday's storm, weather stations registered wind gusts of 98 km/h (60.9 mph).

Featured image: Passenger aircraft damaged after severe hailstorm hits Istanbul on July 27, 2017. Credit: Olexander Scherba (via Twitter)

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