The “Freak” Guadalajara Hailstorm wasn’t So Freakish

July 1st, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Recent news events regarding heat waves, record high temperatures, and even yesterday’s hailstorm in Guadalajara, Mexico, are commonly presented as evidence of a changing climate system. The trouble is that making such an association is a stretch, at best, for a number of reasons.

Today I’ll deal with the Guadalajara “freak” hailstorm, which is claimed to have “dumped up to 6 feet of ice” on portions of the city.

The Mountains of Northwest Mexico are “Hail Central”

The high elevations of northwestern Mexico are notorious for hailstorms during the “Mexican monsoon” season, when warm moist air flows in from the Pacific and is forced to rise over the mountains. This old hand-drawn map of global hail frequency shows the area clearly, and Guadalajara is in the middle of it.

While most of that part of northwest Mexico is only sparsely populated, rarely a significant hailstorm will happen to hit a city as large as Guadalajara, simply because eventually every place gets hit. This is the same issue as Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City… it was not an exceptional hurricane (Cat 1 at landfall), but it is rare for one to make a direct hit of a major metropolitan area (and at high tide, from the worst possible angle, etc.).

The historical hail problem at the higher elevations of western Mexico is so bad that a Volkswagen assembly plant there once resorted to using unproven ‘hail cannons’ to try to protect its inventory. Ironically, the local farmers then blamed the hail cannon for working too well, and supposedly causing drought conditions. Hail cannons were more popular in the early 20th Century, as evidenced by the 3rd International Congress on Hail Shooting being held in Lyon, France, way back in 1901.

No, “Feet” of Hail Didn’t Fall

I’m sorry, but “6 feet of ice” was not dumped on the city. When a major hailstorm like this hits, especially with a lot of small hail and heavy rain, the flooding deposits the hail into current-driven drifts. Rivers of floodwaters containing the hail caused localized piles of hail to accumulate.

For example, look at this hailstorm aftermath in Denver, CO. See all of the ice in the street, but not in the yard?:

I did not see any hail dents in the video and photos accompanying the news reports; the storm had an abundance of small hail in it.

A Moister Atmosphere from Global Warming Wasn’t to Blame

So, was the intense storm from more moisture in the atmosphere due to global warming?

No, there was actually less water vapor than normal. Here’s the GFS weather forecast model total precipitable water (basically, how much water is available in the lower atmosphere to feed precipitation systems) forecast only 6 hours into that model run, which was about the time of the hail storm. The water vapor available to the storm was actually below average.


GFS 6 hour forecast of total precipitable water at the time of the Guadalajara hailstorm of June 30, 2019 (forecast graphic from TropicalTidbits.com).

I’ve seen a few news reports with quotes about this hailstorm being exceptional and so caused by climate change. There is no evidence that this is the case.


44 Responses to “The “Freak” Guadalajara Hailstorm wasn’t So Freakish”

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  1. Svante says:

    OK, a normal hailstorm for Mexico. What about the heat wave in France?

    • frederik wisse says:

      In fact the 1921 heatwave in france was probably more intense and during that year the temperature-measurements were in the shade , as should be , whilst nowadays the French temperature-stations are placed on rooftops in the full sun . The reported topmeasurement of 45,9 degrees is originating from such a station and is therefor a bad joke . Proof you may find in the most recent ADAPT 2030 publication on YouTube . The French meteorological system proves nowadays how their society is falling apart and disobeys the simplest rules and laws . It has arrived at cheating in broad daylight . And by the way one hundred years CO2 was more than 1 part per 10.000 lower than nowadays so you cannot blame CO2 as being the culprit for any of these modern-day occurences .

      • Bindidon says:

        frederik wisse

        “The reported topmeasurement of 45,9 degrees is originating from such a station and is therefor a bad joke .”

        I’m afraid the bad joke might be your comment: this temperature was never measuread at any time. It was an estimation made by Meteo France.

        Moreover, when you compare heatwaves, you should compare their occurence in the same month.

    • Bindidon says:

      My humble guess: high pressure area southeastern of Wetsern Europe combined with a very low pressure area nrthwestern of it.

      Should literally aspirate Sahara heat.

  2. Roy W. Spencer says:

    Next blog post.

  3. Roy W. Spencer says:

    …after the monthly global temperature update.

    • Svante says:

      No rush, might be better to wait for the dust to settle …

      • Rune Valaker says:

        Dr. Spencer, there are at least 5000 hobby climatologists who are now waiting for the month’s most important update, and in Europe we are approaching midnight, so please rush it …..

  4. garyh845 says:

    Granted thats a lot of little icy bits, but the AFP wire story is a shrill:

    Ive never seen such scenes in Guadalajara, said the state governor, Enrique Alfaro.

    Then we ask ourselves if climate change is real. These are never-before-seen natural phenomenons, he said. Its incredible.

    Guadalajara, located north of Mexico City and with a population of around five million, has been experiencing summer temperature of around 31 Centigrade (88 Fahrenheit) in recent days.

    Wow 88 Degrees proof of man-made climate change? Whats the average daily high in Guadalajara for the month of June?

    Drum roll pls . . . . , a whopping yep 88 F.

    https://news.yahoo.com/freak-hail-storm-strikes-mexican-city-guadalajara-000911507.html

  5. Mike says:

    Imagine what it would be like if the headlines were correct – six feet of hail on the whole city.

  6. Roy W. Spencer says:

    I glanced at it before I left work, over 0.4 as I recall.

  7. Eben says:

    This is called “sorbet”

  8. Dr Myki says:

    Lakes water levels and hail in Guadalajara?
    Some overblown press reports?
    Meh. Small fish.
    How about this: “July 4th-7th: Record breaking temperatures are forecast across Alaska through this weekend as a strong upper level ridge parks over the state.”
    https://twitter.com/NWSWPC

    • Mike Flynn says:

      DM,

      You sound confused. Climate is the average of weather.

      What are you trying to say? The IPCC wrote –

      “The processes affecting climate can exhibit considerable natural variability. Even in the absence of external forcing, periodic and chaotic variations on a vast range of spatial and temporal scales are observed.”

      An example might be the fact that Antarctica was once ice free, but now has ice cover up to 4 kms thick. Just a chaotic variation. No CO2 or CAGW involved.

      Are you disagreeing with the IPCC? Have you any particular reason? Merely linking to forecasts proves nothing, does it? Forecasts change on a daily basis – why not wait for reality?

      Just more pseudoscientific cultist wishful thinking, if you think forecasts are fact. The future has not happened yet – surprise, surprise!

      Cheers.

      • Dr Myki says:

        You still dont get it, do you?
        1. “Climate is the average of weather”
        So what? You are incorrectly assuming that the average of unpredictable events is itself unpredictable. As I have told you before, I can predict the likely value of the stock market index without knowing anything about the individual trades that make up the index.
        Please try and think about it.

        2. “just a chaotic variation”??
        A chaotic variation does not mean the absence of cause and effect. The current warming and associated effects has a cause, and the only plausible explanation is EGH.
        Again, think about it. You know I am right.

      • Mike Flynn says:

        DM,

        You wrote –

        “I can predict the likely value of the stock market index without knowing anything about the individual trades that make up the index.”

        And yet you haven’t actually put any of your money where your mouth is, have you? Typical pseudoscientific cultist – all mouth and no trousers. Let me know when you have become fabulously wealthy by the cunning use of the predictive abilities which appear to eluded the best and brightest finance professionals. How did you go predicting the last stock market crash?

        You also wrote –

        “The current warming and associated effects has a cause, and the only plausible explanation is EGH.”

        You are suffering from a delusion. Heat creates warming. Nobody can even usefully describe the GHE (which I assume you meant, rather than EGH). Therefore, claiming that the only plausible explanation for something is something you cannot even describe, seems a bit woo-woo (graphic of New Age white robed worshippers dancing around a hockey stick can be imagined here, if you like).

        Do you think additional sources of heat might explain hotter thermometers? No?

        Off you go then, back into your fantasy.

        Cheers.

        • Dr Myki says:

          Sigh.
          Still not listening.
          1. Tomorrow, the Dow JonesIndex is highly likely to be between 2700 and 26500. That is a valid prediction. It is not very useful but, nevertheless, it is a prediction.
          2.”Heat creates warming”
          No it doesn’t. The imbalance between heat supplied and heat lost creates warming/cooling.
          Please try thinking a bit more before you make such idiotic statements.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          DM,

          Any 12 year old child can predict the stock market as well as you. As you say “it is not very useful”. Actually, of no use whatsoever. Like so-called “climate science”.

          I said heat creates warming. You wrote –

          “No it doesn’t. The imbalance between heat supplied and heat lost creates warming/cooling.”

          I notice you had to use the word “heat”, didn’t you? What happened to your assertion that the indescribable GHE makes thermometers hotter – ie, warmer. I remind you that you wrote –

          “The current warming and associated effects has a cause, and the only plausible explanation is EGH.”

          A miracle! Hotter thermometers without heat being involved!

          Time to deny, divert and confuse, eh? No GHE. No CO2 making thermometers hotter. You remain stupid and ignorant.

          Carry on.

          Cheers.

          • Dr Myki says:

            Still missing the point.
            Twice.
            “Hotter thermometers without heat being involved!”
            I wish I had a dollar each time you trot out this nonsense.
            Maybe then I would buy some quality pyjamas – they make a thermometer “hotter” with no extra heat involved.

          • Mike Flynn says:

            DM,
            
You wrote –

            “Maybe then I would buy some quality pyjamas – they make a thermometer “hotter” with no extra heat involved.”

            Do tell. Wrap your new pyjamas around a thermometer, and tell me how much hotter it gets.

            Not at all, eh? You see, stupidity and ignorance have not changed the laws of thermodynamics at all!

            Maybe you could concentrate of trying to describe the GHE in such a way that it explains why the Earth’s surface has cooled over the last four and a half billion years. Of course you can’t, but that’s the difference between cultist pseudoscience and fact.

            Press on anyway.

            Cheers.

          • Dr Myki says:

            I will wrap me and my pyjamas around the thermometer.
            This makes the thermometer hotter with no extra heat involved.
            See how stupid you are?
            No?
            As they say, you can lead a horse to water but…..

  9. Armando says:

    Guadalajara is in the west of Mexico, not in the northwest. Another hail storm happened in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, in the hail zone too…

  10. AZ1971 says:

    There’s no evidence this hail event was driven by climate change because weather ≠ climate. Pretending it is only shows one’s ignorance.

  11. Ken says:

    Was it Obama that promised ‘change’? I bet you didn’t think he meant climate ‘change’ … short changed by leftists and greens … again.

    4.5 feet of hailing climate change? Not. It flooded and the ice accumulated in the low spots. Emperor of Climate has no life jacket.

  12. barry says:

    “news events regarding heat waves, record high temperatures, and even yesterday’s hailstorm in Guadalajara, Mexico, are commonly presented as evidence of a changing climate system. The trouble is that making such an association is a stretch, at best, for a number of reasons.”

    Of course. Weather is not climate.

    So did those articles contextualize in terms of long term trends and such? Because that would be legitimate.

    But let’s not confuse the news media with the science. A lot of anti-AGW dross also gets published in the MSM. It’s not a good source for understanding the science. Isn’t this obvious? And if we must labour the point, why only point to one side of the ledger?

    • JDHuffman says:

      barry advises: “But let’s not confuse the news media with the science.”

      barry, that’s good advice. Even better advice is to not confuse your false religion with science.

      barry continues: “And if we must labour the point, why only point to one side of the ledger?”

      Exactly barry. We should also mention the pseudoscience of the blue/green plates that you brought here. You introduced pseudoscience, then you ignored all the discussions. You spread nonsense, they you act like you are as pure as sunlight.

      You need to clean up your act, before you “advise” others. You’re as phony as they come.

  13. Mark Wapples says:

    Am I classed as a hobbyist. Chemistry graduate who worked in industry transferred to education who was waiting for the result all evening.

  14. Rodolfo Torres says:

    Thanks for this simple and clear explanation of the phenomena, which as a resident of Guadalajara for more than 40 yrs, I have seen such hail storms every year hitting different parts of the city, small strong storms that hit only one small section of the City, but always looks monstrous when accumulated.

    Since the city has grown too much there are less permeable soil which will absorb rain fall, then every year we see bigger floods, which is not evidence of more rain, just crappy and collapsed sewer systems.

    Every year in hot season April-July, we hear dumb claims of hotter and hotter temperatures, yet we have hardly got at 38C for one day or two, but if we considered people’s claims we would already be at 60C from year to year “increasing” temperatures…

    • JDHuffman says:

      “…which is not evidence of more rain, just crappy and collapsed sewer systems.”

      The infrastructure has not kept up, which implies “crappy and collapsed politicians”. That’s a common problem everywhere.

      You are not alone….

    • gallopingcamel says:

      @Rudolpho Torres,

      In the rainy season it is going to rain. In the late afternoon in Mexico City the downpour would overwhelm the drains stopping all traffic around Cuautitlan.

      Apparently things are not much different in Guadalajara.

      Who cares about such minor matters? There are so many wonderful things to enjoy in your amazing country.

  15. gallopingcamel says:

    I was caught in a hail storm in Pakistan in 1958 that could have caused serious injuries if my group had been unable to find cover. The hailstones ware up to two inches in diameter but none of them were spherical. Most had a “Flying Saucer” shape.

    • Doccus says:

      I guess you lucked out then. I currently have over 50 videos bookmarked of hailstones falling between 2 to 4 inches in diameter during tornado season every year in the US midwest. The damage these rocks do to peoples cars is astounding, not to mention the hospital visits as well. AFAIK, its not a new phenomenon, but its hard to tell since videos of them have only been able to be made for the last, maybe, 30 years..

      • Doccus says:

        I forgot to mention that these were *spherical* 4 inch stones. Which is why I mentioned you “lucked out” then.. 😉

  16. Rodolfo says:

    @gallopingcamel

    Indeed it’s no different CDMX from Guadalajara. And you should know that Mexico city has now a deep sewer system around 12 meters diameter which is called “colector Oriente” to diminish such floods.

    Fox and Caldern governments prevented rainfall to follow their natural path to Texcoco, a natural ancient lagoon, which absorbs most of rain fall preventing Mexico City soil to dry and sink (remember Mxico city soil is muddy).

    Well in Guadalajara we do not have such deep sewer, but growing suburbs with no newer, better water management, so that rainfall has to go somewhere… Lowlands of course…

    Combine that with crappy governors!!!

    But thanks for your nice words about Mexico being beautiful, hopefully we can manage to stay this way for many more years!

    • gallopingcamel says:

      @Rodolfo,
      My wife and I honeymooned in Cancun while working for Telmex before Carlos Slim.

      In 2016 we were planning to retire and relocate to San Miguel de Allende but found Queretaro more to our liking (fewer Gringos). Unfortunately, a family emergency occurred which upset our plans.

      Back in the early 1980s I used to stay at the Maria Isabel hotel In Mexico City (part of the Sheraton group that my company owned). I was in that hotel the week before the 1985 earthquake but when I returned the week after I had to stay elsewhere as the hotel was closed owing to earthquake damage.

      My company built two 10,000 line telephone switches in Centro Telefonico, one was a “Step-by-Step” machine located in the basement and the other was a fully digital (System 12) switch on the second floor. After the earthquake all of the curtain walls of the exchange buildings fell down so we had to put plastic sheets to prevent birds from nesting in our equipment on the second floor. Ten racks fell over but within two weeks we had everything operating again.

      The falling masonry completely buried our “Stepper” in the basement. It took six weeks to dig it out but it was still working perfectly. Sometimes old technology is more reliable!

  17. Rodolfo says:

    @JDHuffman

    Unfortunately these dumb politicians values things with money and not with efficiency.
    So they build new sewers for new suburbs in 8″ diamater instead of going 30 or 60, “so this will work for the next 20-40 yrs”

  18. Bruiser says:

    G Day Svante,
    The heatwave in France was unusual but certainly not unprecedented. You might want to research the summer if 1757. The heat was transported from the Sahara not caused locally by CO2.
    Cheers Bruiser

  19. Svante says:

    Yes, global warming is only about 1.5 C in France:
    https://tinyurl.com/yymbd4eo

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