NEA: Heavy downpour today not toxic or acid rain

SINGAPORE - After weeks of haze, the rain finally came - but along with it were hailstones.

Ice pellets the size of marbles were spotted mostly around western parts of Singapore on Tuesday. These areas include Jurong, Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said that while hailstorms are uncommon in tropical countries, this is not the first time Singapore has seen hail. The last hailstorm here was in March, 2008.

Hail usually occurs because of thunderstorms. It is a form of rain and it is not harmful.

NEA said that it cannot confirm if the hail storm is related to the haze, but said it is not related to cloud seeding. The agency added that the heavy downpour this afternoon was not toxic or acid rain.

This is because it does not contain sulphur dioxide.

NEA said it is unlikely that the rain is the result of cloud seeding being conducted in Indonesia, as clouds do not travel that far and the winds are currently blowing the haze away from Singapore.

While the rain was a short respite from the haze, it cannot wash away all the PM2.5 particles in the air.

Slight hazy conditions and thunderstorms are expected over the next one to two days.

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