Russia authorities open case into hailstorm deaths

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities have opened an investigation into the deaths of two children during a severe hailstorm in Siberia.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement published online Monday that two young girls aged 3 and 4 had died Saturday in the lakeside town of Bredsk, not far from the large Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The two girls died after sustaining traumatic brain injuries when a tree fell on their tent, where they were taking shelter from the storm along with their families.

Videos have surfaced online showing beach-goers in Novosibirsk huddling desperately under umbrellas, as cherry-sized hailstones pelt them mercilessly. Weather has been unusually extreme across much of Russia this summer, with snow hitting parts of central Russia that rarely see freezing temperatures in summer.