Fish start raining from sky in bizarre weather phenomenon
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Residents of a remote community in Australia were pretty surprised to say the least when a load of fish started falling out of the sky like rain.
You can see the kind of thing we’re talking about in the video below, which is from a documentary about strange weather:
It’s definitely an unusual phenomenon - rarely does rainwater fall from the sky in certain parts of Australia, let alone live fish.
However, that’s exactly what recently happened in the small rural community of Lajamanu - situated on the northern edge of the Tanami Desert.
The residents were understandably pretty shocked when the fish started to fall during a period of heavy rain, but this isn’t even the first time that it has happened.
Local resident and Central Desert councillor Andrew Johnson Japanangka said: “We've seen a big storm heading up to my community and we thought it was just rain.
"But when the rain started falling we've seen fish falling down as well."
As we’ve mentioned, there is actually previous for this sort of thing.
It seems as if strong updrafts - potentially even tornadoes - can pick up water and fish from the sea or from a river, before dumping it unceremoniously back to earth as far as hundreds of kilometres away.
Lajamanu, being in the Northern Territory area at the top of Australia, is pretty far away from anywhere, but hundreds of kilometres from the sea.
However, some residents remember this exact same thing happening in 2010, and others remember it in 2004.
Even further back, it apparently took place in 1974 as well.
Japanangka went on to say that the fish were ‘the size of two fingers’ at least and some were even still alive at the time they fell.
"Some are still hanging around in the community in a puddle of water," he said.
"Children are picking them up and keeping them in a bottle or a jar."
He added: “We saw some free-falling down to the ground. And some falling onto the roof,
"It was the most amazing thing we've ever seen.
"I think it's a blessing from the Lord."
In Alice Springs, also in the Northern Territory, they’ve had fish fall from the skies too.
Remembering that, local resident Penny McDonald said: “I got up in the morning, I was working in the school at the time, and the dirt streets outside my home were covered in fish.
"They were small fish and there were a lot of them around.
“It was just amazing."
In terms of the science behind it, Michael Hammer, who works at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, said: “Most of the time people arrive after the rain and see the fish scattered everywhere.
"And in that instance they've mostly just burst through with the flood that's happened locally, from a little waterhole or something.
"But it certainly can't rule out fish being caught up in little storms and then dropped in other places.”
Hammer added that raining fish is ‘not unusual’ though it ‘depends what the local weather patterns are’.
"What forces would be needed to lift them out of the waterhole specifically, and then up into the air, would be pretty interesting,” he said.
The fish that fell on Lajamanu are pretty big for this, though.
Queensland Museum ichthyologist Jeff Johnson identified them as spangled perch or spangled grunters, a freshwater fish found commonly in Australia.
He said that the weather phenomenon is a ‘real thing’ but it’s rare that the fish would be this big.
"They are a relatively large fish and they're not able to be drawn up out of the water and held up in the sky for very long.
"But clearly that's what has happened."
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