Siberia, Russia – Swimmers on the popular river beach say there was no warning on a sunny day before the downpour of hailstones, some the size of golf balls and hen eggs.
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.
‘It was like being hit by raining bullets from the sky,’ said one sunbather.
‘My husband was protecting my young daughter but his back was exposed to the hailstones and he has bruising all over it,’ said one woman.