A massive hailstorm hits Bolivian capital La Paz, closing key highways and creating a slushy mess for commuters. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Hailstorm pelts La Paz, Bolivia
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
A powerful 25-minute hailstorm hit Bolivian capital La Paz late on Sunday (January 17), causing damage to buildings and closing important roads in the country’s western region for several hours.
The storm left 50-centimetre-deep (19 inches) ice in some parts of the capital and caused floods in other areas, where piles of ice clogged sewers.
While hailstorms are relatively common in Bolivia, the intensity of Sunday’s storm shocked residents of La Paz.
The highway that connects the capital to the town of El Alto remained closed for seven hours and was only reopened by morning, after tractors removed the thick layer of ice from the road.
An unidentified passenger of one of the cars heading towards El Alto, said it was impossible to drive through the ice.
“Unfortunately this hailstorm caused a disaster and heavy traffic in this highway and we are waiting for it to melt. That way we will be able to drive through with our cars,” he said.
Although Bolivia has been largely affected by floods and droughts caused by this season’s strong El Nino, weather experts said the hailstorm was not related to the phenomenon.
Twenty thousand families have been affected by the unusual weather patterns in the South American country since December.
The Bolivian Andes often suffer abnormal weather patterns during summer because of the climate surrounding its tropical glaciers.