Summer may be the rainy season, but hail like this is freaky even for Japan.
A phrase you’re not likely to run into in Japanese textbooks, but which you’ll definitely hear people say in Japan, is gerira gou. Literally translating as “guerrilla downpour,” the term describes powerful but brief rainstorms that occur with little warning, as though Mother Nature herself is employing guerrilla warfare tactics.
After an unusually dry June and first half of July this year, the guerrilla rains came to Tokyo in particularly violent fashion on July 18, when the capital was suddenly pounded by gigantic pieces of hail, some measuring more than five centimeters (two inches) in length.
ゲリラ豪雨&雹 網戸が破ける程 窓が割れるんじゃないかと怖かった https://t.co/NRmOuJB7mZ—
Misato (@0326_misato) July 18, 2017
百敷屋 (@1004KI8) July 18, 2017
And if you think those gargantuan chunks of ice look scary in still photos, wait until you see them actually falling from the sky.
カミナリゴロゴロのゲリラ豪雨、雹が半端なかったです！ 東京の方は、引き続きご注意ください。 本当に危険です！避難してください。 https://t.co/RWWZykNF6U—
アタゴ空調設備株式会社（公式） (@ATAGOofficial) July 18, 2017
池袋に雹降って来た 当たったら死ぬやつですわこれ #雹 #池袋 https://t.co/l12DDDoPaV—
雹で頭が凹んだ男 (@hyouuramu) July 18, 2017
In the downtown area, the Ikebukuro neighborhood was hit especially hard. Making things worse were incredibly strong gusts of wind, powerful enough to blow wheeled signboards down the street and partially flood the platform of the JR Yamanote Line.
▼ The wind was also strong enough to turn whoever shot this video into a cackling supervillain/lord of a vampire manor.
ゲリラ豪雨ヤバイな！おい！ #ゲリラ豪雨 #落雷 #雹 https://t.co/H05bRyd6XF—
ガイモン (@gaimonn) July 18, 2017
ルシ (@hanayolove41) July 18, 2017
#ゲリラ豪雨 池袋なう 雹が降ってるヤベェ https://t.co/zsFc8PNAtz—
木沢かしぃ (@FvKiy) July 18, 2017
And while Tokyoites could keep dry by staying indoors, many no doubt found themselves wondering if their windows were strong enough to withstand a direct hit from one of the giant hailstones.
ゆうと@京都大作戦3DAYS (@yuto580313) July 18, 2017
▼ This have been a good time for this Family Mart branch to disable it’s automatic door.
ミル神＠MWAM (@milgami29) July 18, 2017
Even once the rain stopped, there was plenty of slush left on the sidewalks.
〇 (@jzy321451) July 18, 2017
Hanayo (@Hanayo_pad) July 18, 2017
▼ This Twitter user even noticed a number of busted street lamps, which appear to have shattered from the impact of falling hail or other debris.
田上 勇（田上ジョージ）三十路リーゼント (@salondeQ) July 18, 2017
Thankfully, no injuries were reported in association with the downpour, and by the time evening rolled around…
くましゃん(きーくん) (@yu_spica) July 18, 2017
ゲリラ来ました⚡️😱 何事もなかったかの様な夕暮れ空。 #空#空好き#ゲリラ豪雨 https://t.co/kG5MQBRTMV—
ももこちゃん (@VFK7zoatuypalyC) July 18, 2017
…the guerrilla rain clouds were giving way to the onset of a beautiful, peaceful sunset.