Apocalyptic storm pounds Istanbul with hailstones 'as big as golf balls'

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Istanbul was hit by a freak storm with hailstones the size of golf crashing down across the city. 

The apocalyptic storm lasted around 20 minutes and was accompanied by torrential downpours, and powerful wind which knocked down trees and parts of buildings.

Footage posted on Twitter by UN Climate Action showed a Turkish street completely submerged in muddy rainwater. 

People were forced to take refuge as huge hailstones the size of oranges crashed down onto cars and buildings. 

Videos posted online showed terrified residents fleeing. In moving scenes one man risked his safety by rescuing a drowning kitten.

One resident posted online: “Unbelievable sudden hail storm over #Istanbul. These whoppers just hit my balcony. Never seen anything like it.”

Flights at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport were cancelled with sixteen planes being diverted to other destinations, officials said. 

Closures: Trees and debris left the Turkish streets obliterated (Edouard Benadava)

Thousands of emergency workers were deployed to help in the aftermath of the storm which felled trees, destroyed 90 roofs and sparked fires across the city.

Debris has fallen off buildings during the freak storm in the Turkish capital (Edouard Benadava)

Images shared on social media and Turkish television showed huge hailstones battering the streets, with cars and buses submerged.

Many buildings and offices were flooded as giant hailstones shattered windows of cars and residential buildings. 

It is the second time in 10 days the Turkish capital has been inundated with heavy rainfall wreaking havoc in the metropolis. 

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