We’ve all heard of it “raining cats and dogs.” And, according to the 1983 chart-topping song by The Weather Girls, it might even rain men. But when we’re predicting the weather, we never expect it to actually be cloudy with a chance of meatballs.
Around the world, however, some of the strangest things imaginable have fallen from the sky. Here are a few objects that left locals in shock.
Fish have actually rained from the sky quite a few times. According to the Library of Congress, A.D. Bajkov, a biologist working for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife, documented fish pouring from the sky in Marksville, Louisiana in October 1947 while he was having dinner with his wife. An average of one fish per square yard covered the street. In February 2010, perch descended upon a small Australian town. In September 2017, Tampico, Mexico residents were in for a surprise when fish began to rain down. And community members in La Unión, a municipality in Honduras, claim that the sky rains fish every year. An atmospheric scientist at the University of Georgia spoke with the Smithsonian and attributed the odd cases of raining fish to two natural causes: tornadoes or waterspouts. The tornado or waterspout travels over a lake, sucks up the fish, and drops them along its route.
Even creepy crawlers like spiders have fallen from the sky. In a video provided by the Smithsonian, thousands of spiders can be seen weaving down thin, silk webs from telephone pole wires in Santo Antonio da Platina, a small town in Brazil. According to Marta Fisher, a biologist who works with the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, seeing spiders speckled in the sky isn’t abnormal for this town and surrounding areas. This species, Anelosimus eximius, is a “social” spider, meaning they come out during all times of the day to construct giant webs to catch their prey. When heavy winds come along, their webs are ruined, and they are carried to a new location. The combination of the floating webs and “flying” spiders makes it appear that they are raining down.
Nearly 200 gold bars fell from the sky in Siberia, Russia, in March 2018. However, don’t expect money to come pouring down on you anytime soon. A statement released by the Yakutsk airport claims that a cargo plane containing an estimated $378 million in gold, platinum and diamonds spilled the bars when the cargo hatch on the airplane was torn open during takeoff. No one was hurt and most of the gold was recovered.
On September 1, 1969, dozens of golf balls rained from the sky in Punta Gorda, Florida. According to an excerpt from a news report, local authorities attempted to collect golf balls but were unable to do so due to the sheer amount. The cause of the raining golf balls remains unknown.
Residents of Bath County, Kentucky, were shocked when, according to an article from The New York Times, meat showered down from the sky on March 3, 1876. Now known as the “Kentucky Meat Shower,” one resident recounted how “the sky was perfectly clear” before “three or four inches square” of meat began to fall. No one is quite sure where the meat came from, but one report in an 1876 edition of the Louisville Medical News claims that it was most likely food that had fallen from the mouths of vultures.
Close to 5,000 red-winged blackbirds fell out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas, on New Year’s Eve in 2010. Shortly after, an additional 500 dead birds fell and were found in New Roads, Louisiana. Starlings, grackles and brown-headed cowbirds were among the breeds that fell. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission reported the birds most likely fell after colliding with stationary objects when loud booms from fireworks echoed through the sky.
Thunderstorms are a natural weather phenomenon around the globe, but the residents of Keresley, a village in West Midlands, England, experienced an “apple shower” in 2011. According to one report, apples rained down, striking cars. One forecaster suggested that large gusts of wind carried the apples over to the county, but nearby orchards weren’t missing a large amount of apples.
In July 2007, two Jennings, Louisiana, police officers reported that large globs of worms fell from the sky while they were walking to work on a Sunday afternoon. According to their detailed account of the day, there were worms “all over the ground.” It is believed that a water spout that touched down near Lacassine Bayou carried the worms over to Jennings where they then rained down.
A two-foot leopard shark gave golfers a shock when it fell onto the San Juan Hills Golf Course in October 2012. One brave cart attendant, after clocking out from his work shift, released the shark back into the ocean. The course director suspected a bird plucked the shark from the ocean and dropped it while in-flight.
In 2016, a bovine plummeted from the sky and landed in a garden in the German town of Waldfischbach-Burgalben. Residents claimed the cow suffered “a short spell of dizziness” before getting back up. According to police officers, the cow fell from a 10-foot cliff.
“Blood rain” is a common term for the reddish-colored rain that falls when sand from the desert mixes with the drops. The reddish dust can coat homes and cars. But in July 2001, red rain unlike that of “blood rain” fell over Kerala in India. According to a Harvard study discussing the occurrence, the rain contained unidentified, red cellular particles. Researchers have been unable to determine what the exact source of this red rain might be, but one theory suggests that the particles came from a meteor.
Soaring temperatures in Sydney, Australia, caused brain injuries to flying fox bats in early 2018. The bats fell out of the sky and rained down on those below. According to a wildlife group in the city, more than 200 bats fell to their death.
Stories of frogs raining from the sky go as far back as the second century B.C., according to the Smithsonian. The amphibians were reported to have fallen from the sky in Kansas City in 1873, and again in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1882. And as recently as 2005, thousands of tiny frogs reportedly fell from above in Serbia. Tornadoes or waterspouts are believed to have swept up the frogs from their natural habitats and dropped them in city streets.
After temperatures dipped below 40 degrees in southern Florida in 2018, both residents and iguanas were in for a shock. Frozen iguanas fell from tall trees onto unsuspecting locals. This phenomenon, according to a Zoo Miami spokesperson, isn’t rare. When temperatures drop drastically, iguanas are no longer able to hold on to the trees where they normally roost. Frozen and stunned, they fall to the ground. When the sun rays eventually warm them back up, they are rejuvenated. Paying attention to nature’s creatures is just one fun way to predict the weather.
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