Raining fish and frogs?

Throughout history, there have been many accounts of fish, frogs, snails, and even snakes falling from the sky over many parts of the world.

Weather experts say that the cause is likely waterspouts – close cousins of the tornado – or tornadoes themselves. NOAA researcher Dr. Joe Golden has said:

There is no doubt that large waterspouts can carry large quantities of water upward in their circulation. There are some that rotate over 200 miles per hour. The objects picked up could be small fish and frogs. Even larger objects have been picked up by tornadoes, including vans and automobiles.

One of the earliest known reports was written about 1800 years ago in ancient Greece. So many frogs had fallen from the sky over Macedonia that roads and houses were blanketed with them. Fleeing residents couldn’t avoid stepping on them. One of the more recent accounts of a “fish fall” happened in Great Yarmouth, a town near the east coast of England, in August 2000. A retired ambulance driver noticed what he thought was hail falling in his yard during a morning thunderstorm. When he looked closer, the hail turned out to be small fish. Representatives of the British Meteorological Office say that a waterspout or small tornado probably picked up the fish just off the coast and dropped them a couple of kilometers – about a mile and a quarter – inland.

July 19, 2008

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