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1888

Orange-sized hail reported in India

A hail storm devastates the farming town of Moradabad, India, killing 230 people and many more farm animals on this day in 1888. Sixteen others died in nearby Bareilly.

In the Central Plains region of Uttar Pradesh, March and April are the prime seasons for hail. However, the hail storm that struck on April 30, 1888, was far more intense than usual and is now the stuff of legend in India. The hail was accompanied by strong winds that toppled many structures and homes in the area.

Although it occurred at midday, the storm brought clouds that were so dark and thick that people reported that it seemed like night. There was no warning system in place at the time, so the area’s many farmers were out working their fields when the storm began. Most of the victims died instantly when hail the size of oranges rained down from the sky, striking them. There were reports that the hail accumulated up to 2 feet high in some spots. Thousands of farm animals were also killed by the sudden hail storm.

More advanced meteorology and advance-warning systems now help to prevent such storms from taking so many lives.

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