Violent hail storm transforms town
The summer heatwave has given way in spectacular fashion to a violent hail storm which transformed part of a seaside resort into a winter landscape.
Falmouth in Cornwall began the week, like much of the UK, bathed in late summer sun as warm weather returned before the onset of autumn.
But winter came suddenly for some residents on Friday night as the heavens opened and an intense hail storm turned one area of Falmouth into a Christmas scene.
While most suffered nothing more than a torrential downpour, residents in the town's Golden Bank area were subjected to a ferocious hail storm. Cars in the area were reportedly left sliding on the roads and residents were forced to quickly take refuge in their homes.
Linda Jones, 57, of The Gluays, in Golden Bank, Falmouth, said the hail storm was so intense it was frightening. "I suppose it lasted 15 to 20 minutes and by the end it had turned everything into a winter landscape," she said.
"It was almost completely in the Golden Bank area of the town, which isn't very big, there must have been this huge winter cloud over the area. I've lived here for a long long time now and I've never experienced anything like it. At one point it was quite frightening, the noise was horrendous, and I did think there would be broken windows. I felt a bit silly afterwards but I spoke to my neighbours and they said they were frightened as well."
She said that the weather had been "fairly reasonable" earlier in the day but the sky became grey during the afternoon. She added: "It started very, very quickly and came down incredibly fast. There was so much hail it must have been four inches deep. It was so thick it was still there when I got up and didn't melt until later. It's gone now."
Paul Mott, senior meteorologist, at the MeteoGroup UK, said: "A localised intense hail storm occurred in the Falmouth area at around 5pm on Friday, producing a blanket of hail in places and flooding after the hail melted.
"Hail storms like these are typically produced by large cumulonimbus clouds that tower high up into the troposhere. The hail is created when water droplets in these clouds freeze as they are blown upwards by strong winds or 'updrafts' in the cloud.
"Many other parts of south west England also experienced some heavy showers. Northern England also had an unsettled day yesterday. In Durham, a month's worth of rain fell in one day and night, with 58mm of rain recorded here in the 24 hours up to 6am this morning."