A freak hailstorm pummeled multiple southeastern Australian cities this week as deadly bushfires continued raging across the country.
Hailstones the size of golf balls rained down on parts of Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney from Jan. 19 - 20, smashing car windshields, ripping branches from trees, killing wildlife and creating apocalyptic scenes throughout the region.
A woman named Hilary Wardhaugh, who was at the National Library of Australia when the hail began to come down, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation it was an "unbelievable" sight.
"It was like Armageddon, basically," she recalled. "There were people running into the library but I'm really hoping that there's no one caught out in it."
"It really only lasted 10 minutes and the amount of damage that it caused was truly unbelievable," she added.
Wardhaugh later shared footage of the library parking lot on Twitter, depicting multiple severely damaged cars.
"Lucky I rode my bike today," she wrote.
Lucky I rode my bike today pic.twitter.com/nV9BaeWoS7— 💦Hilary 🌈🏳️🌈 (@hil_clix_pix) January 20, 2020
Several more photos shared across social media provide a glimpse into the extent of the storm's damage.
Parliament House at 12.59pm, captured by our Auspic photographer David Foote. pic.twitter.com/TmUQtXLtM4— Australian Parliament House (@Aust_Parliament) January 20, 2020
Wow. Very large hail just plummeting down in CBR. Stripped the trees, killed birds chaos on roads. pic.twitter.com/74fNrVQKRo— Tom Swann (@Tom_Swann) January 20, 2020
I'm sitting at home writing about tipping points in climate change and how our economic models don't fully capture the risk of extreme changes in weather when a hail storm like I have never seen before hits Canberra ... Balls of ice larger than golf balls. pic.twitter.com/CY2zX3Rj91— Anthea Roberts (@AntheaERoberts) January 20, 2020
More weather from Australia pic.twitter.com/rZk2ZTLROo— Robert Lanfear (@RobLanfear) January 20, 2020
Two photos shared by Australian reporter Josh Butler served to show the stark contrast between weather conditions outside the Parliament House in Canberra over the past 15 days.
In the first image, the sky behind the building glows orange with smoke and haze emitted by nearby bushfires. In the second, the entire Parliament lawn is covered in ice, providing a rather eerie comparison between the two weather extremes.
left: Parliament House, Canberra, January 5— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) January 20, 2020
right: :Parliament House, Canberra, January 20
(pics: AAP) pic.twitter.com/i7LWfrkHOv
Although the hail and heavy rain wreaked havoc on metropolitan areas, the low-pressure system did provide relief to some regions currently plagued by wildfires.
Still, dozens of uncontrolled fires remain burning across New South Wales and Victoria, located 285 miles from Canberra, the New York Times reports.