Hail in Savai'i

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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A CLOSER LOOK: Ice pallets found in the East of Savai'i.

A CLOSER LOOK: Ice pallets found in the East of Savai'i. (Photo: Vaetasi Asiata Facebook.)

Residents of the east of Savai’i experienced a rare event on Friday evening when heavy downpour was accompanied by hail.

Small ice pallets dropped in the village of Satupaitea and others nearby, causing a lot of excitement on social media. 

Hail is defined as pallets of frozen rain which fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds and is a common occurrence in certain cooler climates.

At first, many people were suspicious. 

They thought it was a hoax given Samoa’s tropical weather.

But it wasn’t.

Luteru Tauvale, of the Samoa Meteorology Office, confirmed the rare event.

Mr. Tauvale said their satellite readings picked up the cloud that causes hail on Savai’i.

“So basically there are particular clouds that cause hail,” he said.

“The cloud is called cumulonimbus cloud or C.B. cloud. Our satellites picked up yesterday (Friday) that the far east of Savai’i had that particular cloud hovering over it which caused the hail storm.”

Mr. Tauvale added that although the occurrence is rare, it has happened before in Samoa.

 “This phenomenon is unusual for us because hail only occurs in cool countries like New Zealand but it has happened in Samoa before,” he said.

“Back in 2011, we had a similar occurrence at Tiavi cross island road.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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