Swimmers on the popular river beach say there was no warning on a sunny day before the downpour of hailstones, some the size of golf balls and hen eggs.
Temperatures on Saturday 12 July were as hot as 37C – or 99F – in Siberia’s largest city, Novosibirsk, the day the hail cloudburst struck.
Suddenly in late afternoon heavy winds hit the sandy beach between two bridges across the Ob River, the fifth longest in the world.
Swimmers waded out of the water covering their heads. They shielded themselves under parasols and blow-up sun beds to stay clear of the giant hailstones.
Some children were in tears, sheltering under trees, as the hail bombardment struck the beach vicinity.
‘It was like being hit by raining bullets from the sky,’ said one sunbather.
‘My husband was protecting my young daughter but his back was exposed to the hailstones and he has bruising all over it,’ said one woman.
Siberia is known the world over for its ice – but hailstorms of this intensity are rare in summer, when temperatures are similar to Mediterranean resorts.
Towels, beach mats and personal possessions were sent flying by heavy winds as the hailstones pummelled bathers and the beach.
‘If we die, I love you,’ a female voice is heard saying on dramatic video footage of the deluge.
Some sunbathers managed to take cover under metal roofing on shacks near the beach.
The river looked as if thousands of children had thrown stones into its waters all at the same time.
The tower blocks of Novosibirsk were barely visible across the water so thick was the storm.
Grassy areas near the beach were left covered in a white sheen of hail after the storm – which lasted a matter of minutes – ended.
Footage by several local people was uploaded on the internet soon after the freak storm.
The beach is close to the centre of Novosibirsk and is a popular summer recreation spot for locals.
Our pictures also show what it looks like normally on a calm summer day.