We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs outside,” but imagine walking outside and seeing fish fall from the sky. Despite the fact that this occurrence might seem like an absurd joke, did you know that people have long been reporting seeing fish fall from the sky? On December 29, 2021, Texarkana experienced one of the most recent reports of this peculiar weather happening in the South.
The unexpected sight of fish falling from the sky startled and bewildered Texarkana residents on December 29. As a result of how bizarre this spectacle was, many people took pictures and posted them on social media to record the occasion. According to The University of Texas at Austin, this strange shower of fish covered an area of approximately nine square miles.
These kinds of events are strange and unusual, but they are not unheard of. Strong waterspouts that picked up small fish and dropped them in Texarkana were the reason for the sky-high seafood buffet. Waterspouts are a type of tornado that forms over water. They typically form in hot and humid areas due to unstable atmospheric conditions. Waterspouts form due to warm air rising and creating a low-pressure area. As it rises, the warmer air cools and condenses to form a cloud. The cloud will keep expanding and rotating if the atmosphere is unstable enough. When a cloud rotates vigorously enough, it develops a vortex that crosses the water and develops into a waterspout. When these waterspouts are strong enough, they can lift small fish and other light items. Over time, these waterspouts deteriorate and drop any items they had been holding onto, which land on the ground.
At the University of Texas in Austin, samples taken from the fish rain were positively identified as Dorosoma cepedianum, also known as a gizzard shad fish. These fish are common across the state and help support the conclusion that the “fish rain” was most likely the result of gizzard shad being pulled out of nearby streams and reservoirs and later dropped to the ground.
This amazing Texarkana weather occurrence astounded Texans, as did everyone else who learned that fish had actually fallen from the sky. I know it sounds a little fishy, but Mother Nature was able to launch fish into people’s backyards due to strong waterspouts that formed as a result of the hot and humid weather, causing this unusual weather event.