‘Fishy’ phenomenon as city hit by ‘animal rain’
Residents of Texarkana were pelted with “animal rain” last week after two storms blew through the US city on the border between Texas and Arkansas. As the weather cleared up, locals found the streets littered with small fish.
While the phenomenon could seem unbelievable, the City of Texarkana noted that it was, in fact, real. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the city explained that “animal rain” occurs when small water-based critters like fish, but also snakes, crabs, and frogs, get “swept up” by “waterspouts.”
Noting that this “uncommon” event “isn’t a joke,” the advisory described the waterspouts as “drafts that occur on the surface of the Earth” and added that the animals are later “rained down at the same time” as the raindrops.
According to The Texarkana Gazette, one resident recalled that it had been “hailing” and looked “like there was about to be a tornado” before the fish started falling. The paper reported that as many as 25 to 30 fish – some six to seven inches long – were scattered across outside a tire store.
There was also a stench of fish in the air, which the paper likened to that found at a fishing dock or a fish market. The manager of the store said the fish had bounced off the concrete as they fell and added that their heads were “busted open,” suggesting they had fallen from fairly high up.
Meanwhile, some homeowners told the paper they initially thought somebody was “playing a prank.” After the city’s notice, which asked residents to share their “fishy pics,” several locals posted images and videos on social media sites showing small, dead fish on their properties.
Other commenters questioned where the fish could have come from since Texarkana is “landlocked,” but one meteorologist suggested the “tornadic winds” could have carried them from as far away as Lake Texoma in Oklahoma – about a three-hour drive from the city.
“[The fish] are picked up with the wind and come down like any debris does. They could have been picked up somewhere like Lake Texoma. They could have come from anywhere. And whatever goes up, must come down,” Gary Chatelain, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport, Louisiana, told The Texarkana Gazette.