"It's a bird! It's a plane! It's nuclear waste falling from the sky!"
by Delilah Sheraton
With summer quickly approaching, various regions throughout China have experienced several sudden changes of weather. While this can be accepted as a normal part of life in Beijing, the two latest hail storms in the city, both cases happening within one week of each other, were cause for alarm to many.
On Tuesday, May 31, the temperature in the nation's capital rose to a high of 29 degrees Celsius and dropped sharply to 21 degrees Celsius within the span of just one hour. Hail stones, some as large as eggs, rapidly cooled the city air, in addition to causing traffic jams and a creepy end of the world feeling to disoriented tourists and the existentially paranoid.
A similar hail storm occurred exactly seven days later. On Tuesday, June 7, Beijing's high temperature of 29 degrees Celsius quickly shot down to 20 degrees after hailing for ten ridiculously long minutes around supper time (or in the case of your diligent reporter, at the time she was walking back to the subway after dinner, wearing non-hail-friendly flip-flop sandals and no jacket).
The hail storms in Beijing proved to be not only troublesome for most of the city's residents, but rather disconcerting to some. In the case of four young Beijingers, ages 18-28, the tulmutuous weather has permanently changed their lives. Once perfectly attractive and rather sexy beasts and bitches, after being caught the June 7 hail incident without any shelter or protective layer, all four meteorological victims experienced "face melting" (clinically referred to as dermatosis ebullition). "My love life is over," said one of the female victims, from America. "I'll never be able to slut around at Kai Bar again." Another one of the victims attributes their hideous fate to the growing biotech industry in China. When asked, the victim explained that the government-sponsored cloud seeding programs have "gotten way the #### out of hand and as a result [of dermatosis ebullition] I'm now even more of a social reject than I was before I came to Beijing." (Aftermath captured in accompanying photo).
Dermatosis ebullition: Chilling, isn't it?
Throughout history, hail storms much more bizarre than the most recent cases in Beijing have been recorded in Western scientific journals. In 1687, it was reported that hail fell in England containing the seeds of ivy berries. Scientific American, in 1877, reported a rain of snakes, some up to 18 inches long, that fell over the southern part of the city of Memphis, Tennessee. A 1902 rain shower in Spain was observed in which the rain drops, upon touching the ground, gave off a crackling noise and emitted electrical sparks, lasting for less than ten seconds at a time. And in 1953 the town of Leicester, Massachussets was deluged by a downpour of toads. Children were said to be seen gathering the slimy creatures by the bucketful. Could Beijing's recent hail storms be just another one of Mother Nature's silly pranks? Or is it the consequence of man versus nature? Officials from the People's Weather Modification Bureau were unavailable for comment. The cause of dermatosis ebullition is still under research, although reports point to bad acid flashbacks as one possibility. In the meantime, it might be best to think twice before singing in the rain this summer!