Eritrea: Hail storm dumps metre of ice on capital

Aftermath of the hail storm in Eritrea's capital Asmara

A freak rain storm has dumped as much as 1m (3ft) of hail on Asmara, capital of Eritrea, in what appears to be the heaviest rainfall ever recorded there.

This week's storm lasted just 90 minutes, but afterwards parts of the city were completely blocked by ice, government-run newspaper Hadas Eritrea reports. Footage on local television shows streets running with water, and vehicles buried under the hail.

It is by far the heaviest rain ever recorded in the Eritrean capital, the newspaper says. A BBC Monitoring journalist in Nairobi adds that while hail is not unknown in Asmara at this time of year, this week's storm has surprised residents with its intensity.

Eritrea, situated on the Horn of Africa, experiences a short rainy season between February and April, known locally as the "belg" or little rains, followed by a main rainy season between June and September. Average annual rainfall is 61cm (24 inches).

Emergency vehicle in Asmara Footage on Eritrean state TV showed roads deep with ice

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