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Rare hailstorm leaves ‘snowy scene’ across parts of Phoenix, Arizona

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A severe thunderstorm dumped hailstones up to 4 cm (1.6 inches) in diameter across Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday, November 21, 2019, leaving a 'snowy scene' in some parts of the desert. While this is a rare event for the region, it's not unprecedented. The state's worst hailstorm in modern history took place on October 5, 2010, damaging more than 150 000 homes​.

National Weather Service meteorologists said hail fell in parts of Phoenix and the suburbs of Goodyear, Avondale, Tempe, Mesa, and Apache Junction at about 21:37 UTC.

An hour later, the storm intensified but the worst of it passed south of the city. Reports said hailstones ranged from the size of a dime to a ping pong ball, which is roughly 1.8 to 4 cm (0.7  to 1.6 inches).

The snow-like storm covered some neighborhoods and roadways. TV news helicopters even captured a video of children sledding on a hill covered by hail west of Phoenix.

The storm caused widespread disruptions across the city– more than 150 flights were delayed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, while slow traffic was reported on some highways.

People in the area expressed how unusual it was to receive that amount of hail after the storm. "Storm dumping small hail but lots of it! This will make for a less than easy commute home after work," the National Weather Service office in Phoenix said.

"I’ve lived in Phoenix for 2 decades, I’ve never seen hail like this," one resident posted on Twitter.

Phoenix-area cities got at least 25 mm (1 inch) of rain since Tuesday, November 19.

The most destructive hailstorm in the modern history of Arizona took place around 16:30 LT on October 5, 2010, damaging more than 150 000 homes and causing around $3 billion in damages.

On October 6, 2010, Arizona set its new record for the most tornadoes ever recorded in a single day.

Featured image credit: ABC15 Arizona/YouTube

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