RHMZ director: Hail clouds with the power of a thermonuclear bomb hit us
"990 rockets were fired, 610 in Krusevac, which is an absolute record in the last 40 years at that station," Nikolic points out, adding that hail still fell
The consequences of the damage caused in some areas in Serbia two days ago are still being repaired. Images of the storm from endangered areas seem almost unbelievable. Locals are saying that everything happened quickly and that hailstones the size of an egg were falling. Was this an atypical storm, after all?
Director of the Hydrometeorological Institute of Serbia (RHMZ) Jugoslav Nikolic explains that the storm that hit Serbia was caused by a cyclone that was moving from the Mediterranean toward the Balkans.
While interacting with a southwestern jet stream at a high altitude, conditions were created for a very intense storm, Nikolic notes. Such a storm, he says, is not typical for these areas, but it happens occasionally.
"The most powerful possible storm hail clouds were formed, supercell cumulonimbus clouds, with a peak height of over 16 kilometers, that cause storms, wind, showers and hail," Nikolic told RTS.
He added that these supercellul cumulonimbuses had the energy of one or more thermonuclear bombs.
How anti-hail rockets work
According to him, hail is a natural disaster that cannot be prevented by any means.
"If it could, Americans would do it and would not have damages of 20 billion a year. We are doing everything possible to minimize the effects of the disaster," said the director of RHMZ.
Ice in hail clouds cannot be melted, said Nikolic and explained that anti-hail rockets inject a reagent into a certain zone of the cloud.
"It affects the microphysical level, to create as many small pellets of hail as possible. They either melt by the time then hit the ground or result in a larger number of smaller hailstones - that is the principle of action. The advantage of a rocket system is that it directly hits the target without endangering human lives," said Nikolic.
He added that 18,000 rockets have been provided before the start of this hail season, which, he says, is an absolute record.
During the last storm, rockets were fired from eight radar centers, i.e., 196 launch stations.
"990 rockets were fired, 610 in Krusevac, which is an absolute record in the last 40 years at that station," Nikolic points out, adding that hail still fell.
He believes that the damage would have been greater if there wasn't for the rockets.
"The disaster has affected a third of our country, about 2.5 million hectares. Of that, we captured hailstones on 992,000 hectares, which is an area that would surely have been damaged if there was no protection. The damage is now measured in permilles, although in certain places it is absolute and dramatic for those whose property is affected. However, that is a small percentage in total," said the director of RHMZ.
Video: Serbia turns white after terrible hailstorm that created chaos
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