Have you ever heard of fish falling from the sky? It may sound like an old wives’ tale, but it’s a phenomenon that has been reported throughout history. From frogs and toads to fish and even snakes, it’s an unusual occurrence that has been witnessed in various countries. But what exactly is this weather event, and how can it happen? Let’s take a closer look at the mysterious weather phenomenon known as the rain of fish.
Rain of fish is a rare meteorological phenomenon in which flightless animals fall from the sky. It has been reported in many countries throughout history and one hypothesis is that tornado waterspouts sometimes pick up creatures such as fish or frogs, and carry them for up to several miles. French physicist André-Marie Ampère was among the first scientists to take seriously accounts of raining animals. He suggested that at times frogs and toads roam the countryside in large numbers, and that violent winds could pick them up and carry them great distances.
One explanation for many of the supposed cases is that there is no actual falling happening at all and the animals are driven along by winds or a deluge of some sort. This explanation also accounts for the prevalence of reports that only a single species or type of animal is ever reported raining from the sky.
A current scientific hypothesis involves tornadic waterspouts: a tornado that forms over the water. Under this hypothesis, a tornadic waterspout transports animals to relatively high altitudes, carrying them over large distances. This hypothesis appears supported by the type of animals in these rains: small and light, usually aquatic.
In the case of birds, storms may overtake a flock in flight, especially during times of migration. With regard to a reported rain of fish in Singapore in 1861, French naturalist Francis de Laporte de Castelnau speculated that a migration of walking catfish had taken place, dragging themselves over land from one puddle to another, following the rain.
It’s also common for birds to become disoriented and collide with objects such as trees or buildings, killing them or stunning them into falling to their death. This may happen in large groups and has been reported in Sweden and Italy.
So, can it really rain fish? It appears that the phenomenon is real, though the exact cause is still up for debate. It’s an unusual weather event, but one that has been documented throughout history. Whether it’s a rain of fish, frogs, or toads, it’s an occurrence that has captured the imaginations of people around the world.
So the next time you’re looking up at the sky, keep an eye out for a rain of fish – you never know what you might see! And if you do, remember the old joke: “It’s raining cats and fishes!”