Photos: Hailstorm accompanies return of rain to Delhi, India

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 08, 2019, 10:40:38 AM EST

India's National Capital Region (NCR) was covered by hail on Thursday as rain and heavy thunderstorms briefly returned.

Thunderstorms erupted across Delhi during the late afternoon hours of Thursday and persisted into the evening.

While the thunderstorms delivered welcome rainfall following a two-week dry spell, travel disruptions quickly mounted as hail pounded the region and covered roads.

Gusty winds were also kicked up, and there was footage of an apparent tornado in Faridabad.

(Twitter photo/@prasadneha)

The size of the hailstones that pounded Delhi on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, are shown.

(Twitter photo/@AnnuKaushik253)

Many residents captured the size of the hail that fell around the National Capital Region on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@ojusstalwar)

Another view of the hail that fell around Delhi on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.

The adverse weather forced 38 flights to be diverted from the airport in Delhi early on Thursday evening, according to the Times of India.

"Hailstorms are not rare for Delhi, but their occurrence is infrequent," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

"Hailstorms would occur this time of year since there would be a bigger layer of cold air above the surface to produce hail, and any rainfall is usually associated with strong storms," Nicholls added. Deeper pockets of cold air above the surface accompany stronger storms.

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"The problem usually tends to be that the number of precipitation events in the NCR tends to be low this time of year," Nicholls said.

Delhi typically averages only 15 mm (0.58 of an inch) of rain in February.

On Thursday, the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi recorded 30 mm (1.18 inches) of rain.

Dry weather quickly returned to the NCR by Friday. While Thursday's rain and gusty winds brought some improvement in the region's air quality, conditions can rapidly trend back toward poor as the dry, stagnant pattern holds through the middle of next week.

While the risk for hail will be lower, the storm will bring rain and thunderstorms to northeastern India on Saturday. The wet weather will depart before Sunday's Vasant Panchami holiday.

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