A historic hailstorm hit Havana, Cuba on April 20, 2023, with hail the size never before seen in Cuba. This event will enter history books as one of the most important hailstorm events in known history.
On April 20, 2023, an unusually extreme weather event affected areas of Havana, the capital of Cuba. From approximately 05:15 (local time), the fall of large hail was reported in several municipalities of the city, which at the same time holds the category of the province.
When I received the first call from a colleague, at just 05:29 am, I was already awake from intense thunderstorm activity and concerned about rain falling on crumbling early 20th century buildings that for the past 64 years have not received any maintenance. At that time, I had not yet connected to Cuba’s limited mobile data internet and naively thought that it was some of those storms that usually come with the Northeast flow, through the Straits of Florida, formed near the Cuban north coast.
In my forecast of April 19, through my Facebook page “Meteorologist Alejandro Adonis”, I had commented on the generally unfavorable conditions for rain in western Cuba, due to the presence of a layer of very dry air between the levels of 850 and 600 hPa, in addition to the influence of the left sector, more stable, of the upper trough (with the axis over eastern Cuba at the level of 300 hPa).
Just the day before (April 18) there was a hailstorm, also historic, for the town of Mayarí, in the Holguín province, with an approximate size of up to one inch, never seen there even by older residents. But the synoptic environment was completely consistent with what happened in Mayarí and even though this type of severity is not forecast in Cuba in an operational way if I had to choose an area to forecast hail and severity in general, that would be eastern Cuba.