A Singapore hailstorm on Tuesday helped clear up the haze clouding the city-state for the past few weeks.
The hailstorm affected several parts of Singapore, and a National Environment Agency spokesman assured the public–telling Yahoo News and other media–that it was not toxic.
The last hailstorm to hit Singapore was around five years ago and are considered rare events, according to the Western Pacific Weather website.
The environment agency said that the hail was caused by water droplets freezing when it hits particles in the air. It did not say if the weather phenomenon was caused by the haze.
Western Pacific Weather said that research documented in a 2004 Journal Science edition suggested that the hail was caused by the haze lingering overhead. The research found that air pollution and smoke could suppress rainfall initially, but residual moisture will intensify and could produce more intense storms and a greater chance of hail.
“The wind suddenly turned very cold, and these crystal-like stones started raining down,” musician Laura Tang told Yahoo on Tuesday. “It was very frightening. I could not believe my eyes,” she said.
Last week, Singapore authorities called on Indonesia to curb illegal forest fires on the island of Sumatra, which were blamed for the haze over the city-state.
The Singapore environment agency denied claims that cloud-seeding caused the hailstorm, reported the Asia One website.