One-year-old girl killed by huge four-inch hailstones during storm in Spain

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A one-year-old girl has been killed after being hit by an enormous hailstone during a storm in Spain that also left dozens of others injured.

The girl was reportedly struck by a four-inch hailstone the size of an orange and was taken to hospital in Girona but died from her injuries.

At least 50 others are believed to have been injured, many with broken bones.

Footage of the storm was captured by people in and around the Catalan town of La Bisbal de l’Emporda.

The huge hailstones smashed holes through car windscreens, knocked branches off trees and were filmed smashing into public squares and swimming pools.

Local media said the storm was “short but very intense”, with the Catalonian government saying it was the worst hail storm in 20 years.

The storm struck at 7.30pm on Tuesday with firefighters taking more than 40 emergency calls due to damage to buildings, according to Spanish news site Murcia Today.

After a summer of extreme weather, including record-breaking heatwaves and droughts, Catalonia is now under alert for “violent weather”, with “the possibility of hailstones over 2cm, winds of more than 25 metres per second (55mph), and tornadoes”.

On Wednesday, areas around Barcelona were issued with a warning for severe rainfall.

Further south, the heat is still being felt, with many areas set to enter September with temperatures 1.5C higher than average.

Ferocious hail storms in Spain are relatively common, especially in hill-top towns, where large hailstones occasionally reach the size of golf balls or eggs.

However, the worsening climate crisis has been linked to a pattern of growing hailstones.

Hail is caused when water droplets are propelled upwards into the sky by updrafts associated with thunderstorms.

In the higher temperatures caused by the climate crisis, the atmosphere can hold more moisture, thunderstorms have more energy, and the updrafts become more powerful.

The hail forms when the water droplets soar so high they freeze. The stones then grow in size by colliding with more water which freezes on the surface. Once the updraft can no longer support the massing water, the hailstone plummets to the earth.