What’s going on?
You know the 1982 hit song “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls? Well, last week in the East Texas city of Texarkana that happened, but with fish.
You heard me. It rained fish. During a brief shower on Wednesday, December 29, multiple Texarkana residents reported seeing dozens of fish falling from the sky.
Like the frogs at the end of Magnolia?
Exactly. Or the squids at the beginning of Watchmen. Except, you know, with fish.
I don’t know if I believe you.
So what exactly happened in Texarkana?
Well, there were a couple thunderstorms in the area this past Wednesday, during and after which folks reported seeing a bunch of dead fish scattered over their yards and parking lots. One resident, Tim Brigham, told the Texarkana Gazette that it started “hailing and looked like there was about to be a tornado.” Next thing he knew, “there were fish falling.” He estimated he saw 25 to 30 falling fish. “They were bouncing off the concrete,” he told Gazette reporter Lori Dunn, who noted that a fishy smell pervaded the air.
Down the street, at Tiger Stadium, the Texas High School boys’ soccer team was dismissed early from practice because of the rain. One player “kicked up” a fish from the sidelines as he walked off the field. The many Texarkana fish appeared to be of a small, silver variety—likely shad or young bass—with most measuring from two to six inches in length.
So how many fish fell in total, do we think?
I don’t know, but the Gazette said there were “bushels of fish,” which certainly seems like more fish than should be falling out of the sky on any given Wednesday.
This feels apocalyptic.
I know, but it’s not necessarily a sign that the end is nigh. Apparently “animal rain” is an actual real-life weather event. It’s rare, but not impossible. Throughout history, critters have occasionally fallen from the heavens, with reports of raining fish and frogs dating as far back as the Roman Empire. There have been accounts of raining birds, jellyfish, bats, and even—shudder—snakes, so the residents of Texarkana should probably consider themselves lucky.
While we used to blame this sort of thing on the gods, these days meteorologists chalk it up to something called “waterspouts”: basically, lil’ tornados that suck animals up into the clouds, then spit them out somewhere down the line. What makes the Texarkana event a little, ahem, fishy, is that experts aren’t exactly sure if that’s what happened in this case. National Weather Service meteorologist Brandon Thorne said an analysis of weather conditions found no evidence of a waterspout in the area, nor did his team hear about any sightings of one. “We’re kind of confused as to how it happened as well, to be honest,” Thorne told the Dallas Morning News.
If you had to experience any kind of animal rain, what kind of animal would you be happy to see fall from the sky?
Well, it all sounds bad. I wouldn’t wish for any animal to be bouncing off concrete, but I wouldn’t mind being doused with dozens of plush Buc-ee’s stuffed animals, I guess.