Brief hailstorm hits Ishigaki for first time in seven years

The sounds of something striking buildings on Ishigaki Island –including preschools, primary and junior high schools and some businesses—frightened residents as it turned out to be a rare hailstorm.

Ishigaki Island Meteorological Observatory says the hailstones began falling from the sky about 9 a.m. on April 25th, lasting about five minutes.  The hailstones were 1~3cm in diameter.  Officials say hail on Ishigaki last took place in 2005.

Meteorologists say the airspace over the Yaeyama archipelago had a stream of cold air coming from the Asian continent, and damp air moving up from the south, crashing and creating cumulonimbus.  The moisture turned to hailstones, which cooled at 6,000 meters above the island, then fell on Ishigaki.