Report on Impact of Hailstorm in Horticultural Crops in Umiam

H. Rymbai, V.K. Verma, N.A. Deshmukh, H.D. Talang, A.K. Jha

Division of Horticulture, ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya


Hailstorm is frequently occurring in Meghalaya with various intensity, direction and time. This year it was reported across the state during the month of March and April which caused misery for several households due to crop loss and damage to houses. In Umiam, hailstorm was reported on 03rd, 16th and 17th April, 2018 which damaged horticultural crops.

Severity of damage
Almost all the crops are affected in varying degree; however, the damage was higher at flowering, fruit setting, fruiting stage, and nursery stage.

A. Fruit crops
In fruit crops, damage was seen in vegetative and reproductive parts (Table 1).

1) Khasi Mandarin: In Khasi mandarin, hailstorm occurred was at flowering and fruit-setting stage (Fig. 1 a & b). The damage for leaves (8.33%), flowers (46.66%) and fruits (42.76%), while flower drop (62.66%) and fruit drop (53.67%) was recorded.

2) Peach: The damage took place at fruit maturity phase causing 61.3% damage to matured fruit, 22.5% fruit drop and 32.0% leaf damaged (Fig. 1 e & f).

3) Guava: The damage was observed very high in leaves (about 70%).

4) Sohphie: The stage of hailstorm occurrence was at fruiting stage (maturing) and damage was observed in leaves (0.38%) and fruits (30.47%), while fruit drop was about 46.63%).

Table 1: Affect of hail storm in fruit crops


Damaged (%)

Flower drop (%) Fruit drops (%)
Leaves Flowers Fruits
Khasi mandarin 8.33 36.66 42.76 62.66 53.67
Sohphie 0.48 na 46.63 na 30.47
Peach 32.00 na 61.30 na 22.5
Guava 70.00% na na na na

na, data not available for recording as sohphie and peach fruits were in mature stage while guava was in vegetative phase.


Fig. 1 Fruit crops affected by hail stones (a) Flower drop in Khasi Mandarin (b) damage of fruit set in Khasi Mandarin (c) Seedlings of Khasi Mandarin in pre-hailstones (d) Seedlings of Khasi Mandarin in post hailstones (e & f)  damage of peach fruits.

B. Flower crops The damage severely affected the vigorous growth and decimates the yield and quality of flowers (Fig. 2). 

Gerbera: Six month old gerbera at full bloom was affected by hail under open cultivation (Fig. 3a). Damage occurrence was 86.66% in leaves and flowers (92.33%).

Gladiolus: In gladiolus the damage was at full bloom period and recorded 13.66% damage in leaves and 96.66% in flowers (Fig. 3b).

Lilium: In Lilium, it was at vegetative stage and about 75.73% damage to leaves was recorded (Fig. 3c).

Amaryllis: It was recorded about 46.33%damage to leaves and 99.37% to flowers (Fig. 3d)



Fig 2. Affect of hail storm in flower crops





Fig. 3 Flower field affected by hail stones (a) Gerbera (b) Gladiolus (c) Lilium (d) Amaryllis


C. Vegetables
In vegetable crops, observations were recorded in two crops, tomato and dolichos bean and both the crops were at reproductive stage during the incidence of hail stones (Table 2).In dolichos bean, leaf damaged showed 8.79 – 9.56% in pole type and 27.27 – 38.10% in bush type. Similarly, flower drops (pole type, 53.54 – 61.48%; bush type, 55.86 – 57.69%) and fruit drop (pole type, 17.53 – 23.68%; bush type, 59.09 – 66.67%). In tomato, leaf damaged ranged 22.21 – 24.47%, flower drop (31.25 – 89.41%) and fruit drop (14.29 – 31.43%, Fig. 3a).

The flower and fruit drops in vegetables may lead to 35 – 58% yield loss in dolichos bean and 30 – 45% in tomato during hailstorm. The data presented in table 3 showed that the bush types in dolichos bean were more prone to damage in term of flower and fruit drops as compared to pole type. Likewise in tomato flower drop was more severe in determinate type (Sel – 2, 89.41%) while fruit fruit drop is more in cherry tomato (31.43%).

Table 2: Affect of hail storm in vegetable crops


Growth habit

Leaf Damaged (%)

Flower drop(%)

Fruit drop(%)

A. Dolichos bean        
Local Pole type 8.75 53.54 23.68
Swarn Utkrisht Pole type 9.56 61.48 17.53
Sel-1 Bush Type 38.1 57.69 66.67
Konkan bhushan Bush Type 27.27 55.86 59.09
B. Tomato        
Cherry Tomato Indeterminate 22.21 31.25 31.43
Megha Tomato-3 Indeterminate 22.62 68.3 20.25
Selection-2 Determinate 24.47 89.41 14.29




Fig. 3 Vegetable crops affected by hail stones (a) Nursery (Brinjal) (b) Cherry tomato


D. Nursery
The tender seedlings of Khasi Mandarin at two leaf stage were highly damaged (Fig. 1 c & d). The tip of seedlings was broken, defoliated and damaged (93.33%) leading to drying and dying. Furthermore, the occurrence of cutworm in nursery bed was aggravated in the post hail occurrence. Although, appropriate post hail measure was taken to accelerate recovery of seedlings, yet about 87.33% mortality was recorded. The affected plants at tendered seedling (sprouting and emerging) were completely killed. Similarly, tender seedling of tomato and brinjal were recorded about 80-90% damaged by hail stone (Fig. 3b).

The damaged caused by hail storm was experienced in all the crops, however, severity was maximum at flowering, fruit setting and two leaf stage of seedlings. Although, pre- event measures are important but are highly constraints due to unpredictable and localized nature of hailstorm. It is the need of the hour to develop post hail storm strategies to minimize crop losses.