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Huge block of ice crashes from sky into woman's garden

Ice made a loud bang and formed a crater outside a house in Busby, East Renfrewshire.

By STV News

Published 26 Sep 2017.

A large block of ice has fallen from the sky and crashed into a residential garden in East Renfrewshire.

The ice struck the garden of Lyndsey Helliwell, who lives in Busby, at around 10.55am, making a loud bang and forming a crater.

She told STV News: "My friend Eleanor works for my husband from our home.

"She heard a massive almighty boom and she felt the walls of our stone house shake."

The crater caused by the ice falling measures 1.4m by 1.2m. Pieces of ice from the main block are also scattered across the garden.

"It could have killed someone or wrecked your car," Lyndsey said.

There is no obvious explanation for how the block of ice formed and then fell, according to STV weather presenter Sean Batty.

It could have formed on the body of a passing aircraft, which can happen in extreme weather conditions at high altitude.

There are also historical examples of large chunks of ice falling from the sky in Scotland dating back to pre-aircraft days.

However, neither theory lends itself to current conditions in Scotland's skies.

Sean said: "There is no meteorological explanation for today's ice fall as we do not have the right conditions for hail to form in the clouds.

"Sometimes large hailstones can form in thunder clouds, known as cumulonimbus clouds, which develop through vigorous convection and in very unstable air masses.

"Today the air mass is not unstable enough to allow cumulonimbus clouds to form."

For an alternative explanation, it is possible for ice to build up on the bodies of aircraft when they pass through sufficiently icy and wet air.

Planes are more likely to accrue ice while descending than while taking off, as they spend more time passing through layers of cloud which may have an air temperature below zero.

Sean said: "There was a flight passing directly over the Busby area at the time this ice fell travelling from Los Angeles to Dusseldorf, however it was at an altitude of 39,000ft where the air is very cold but also drier.

"Any moisture present at this altitude would be in the form of ice crystals instead of super cooled water droplets and meteorologically speaking conditions were not favourable for ice formation on this aircraft."

He added: "Reports of ice falls pre-date the era of flight. The largest chunk of ice to fall was in Scotland at the farm of Balvullich in Muir of Ord near Inverness in August 1849.

"It was said to be 20ft in circumference and was estimated to weight about half a ton."

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