Iran’s northern cities hit with golfball-sized hail in epic deluge

Iran’s northern cities hit with golfball-sized hail in epic deluge
Iran hit with more freak weather in the latest incident of mega floods, this time hitting the north of the country. / bne IntelliNews
By bne Tehran bureau May 9, 2024

Iran’s northern Khorasan and Gilan provinces have been hit by a heavy rainstorm and mega hailstorms in the latest of a string of flooding incidents in the usually arid country, Asr Iran reported on May 9.

Cities across the north of the country, close to the border with Turkmenistan, have seen significant hail and rain in recent hours, with streets, homes and shops all under more than 60cm of water in some locations. At the same time, underground tunnels were turned into swimming pools in Khorasan and Golestan regions.

In one incident below, a man was seen collecting golf ball-sized hail in his yard in the north of Iran. Such occurrences are incredibly rare even in the north of Iran, which generally sees more rain than the southern parts of the country.  

Meanwhile, snow has been reported on the Torbat Heydarieh to Mashhad road, making the route treacherous for drivers, a freak occurrence at this time of the year considering Iran’s proximity to the equator.

The entire region this year has seen increased rainfall, sudden cloudbursts, and bizarre incidents, with sudden showers in Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia reported.

Cities close to the Persian Gulf have also seen areas still wet days after flooding, which is becoming a new regular occurrence in spring. Experts have said that climate change is the culprit, which has claimed several lives in recent weeks across the entire Middle East.

In one incident, roads have been washed away close to the Turkmen border area in Gepz, Dol Chah, Aqaj and Qara Chah,” local police said, IRNA reported.

Director General of the North Khorasan Governorate's Crisis Management Mohammad Shafiq added: "Hail has been reported today in Rastghan, Rajojarglan, and in the village of Qara Khanbandi, Bojnord, minor damages have been caused to the infrastructure."

In another video released by Fars News Agency, an entire street is under more than 50cm of water, in what would be at least a year's rainfall in a day. 

In one recent incident in Iran, fish were seen raining down on a central city in the country, in what is believed to be the only recorded fish raining incident in the entire of West Asia.

In what looks similar to some sort of Biblical miracle or a real life “Sharknado”, large live fish fell from the sky in Yasouj, a city in Central Iran, and were left flapping on the road, a video posted on local social media purportedly shows.

Comments on social media speculated that some sort of typhoon or a whirlwind over water had sucked up the fish and then dumped them again as rain shortly afterwards.

 Only two weeks ago, Dubai was hit with an entire year’s worth of rainfall in a single day, turning the international airport into a lake and flooding the subway.

In the Tabuk province of Saudi Arabia, entire roads were underwater in the past week, according to bne IntelliNews’ reporter on the ground with the Ottoman-era railway in the province looking precariously weak with increased floods.

The rainfall was so extreme that a caravan of camels in the desert outside the city were caught in flash floods after a local river burst its banks.

With the temperature of the seas currently at fresh all-time highs, that is providing the energy for extreme wind events, and last year saw tornadoes and tropical storms form overseas that sucked up huge quantities of water in Florida and other places. These events are becoming increasingly common.

As bne IntelliNews reported in March, one of the effects of global warming is increased rainfall as warmer temperatures cause more water to evaporate. After the hottest year on record in 2023, the atmosphere already holds circa 10% more water vapour today than just 30 years ago. The warmer the atmosphere gets, the more water it can hold – about 7% more per 1°C of warming according to the Clausius-Clapeyron equation – and scientists have already observed a significant increase in atmospheric moisture, reports Climate Signals.

The increased vaporisation leads to more rain, and the changes in extreme rainfall increase even faster than the rate of vaporisation, increasing 15% for each 1C increase in temperature.

As the now annual disaster season gets underway, several regions have already been hit with floods this year, including France and Italy. In the last weeks Kazakhstan and Russia have been hit with “biblical” flooding after the rapid melting of the winter’s heavy snowfall caused the connecting river to burst its banks.