Rare 'Animal Rain' Phenomenon Causes Fish to Fall from Sky in East Texas: 'This Isn't a Joke'

The city of Texarkana said a recent shower of fish was due to a phenomenon "that occurs when small water animals like frogs, crabs, and small fish are swept up in waterspouts."

Raining Fish
Raining fish. Photo: Getty Images

It's cloudy with a chance of fins in East Texas.

"2021 is pulling out all the tricks … including raining fish in Texarkana today. And no, this isn't a joke," the City of Texarkana, Texas, wrote on Facebook Wednesday.

The post recounted a bizarre occurrence that landed directly in the yards of area residents this week: fish raining from the sky. The falling fish were the result of "animal rain," which the city described in its Facebook post as "a phenomenon that occurs when small water animals like frogs, crabs, and small fish are swept up in waterspouts or drafts that occur on the surface of the earth."

The flightless creatures can travel for miles in a cloud after getting swept up. Eventually, the cloud releases water, showering the animals caught up by the waterspout or draft to the ground as well.

Even though the weather event lasted only a few minutes, hundreds of Texarkana residents commented on the city's Facebook post about their experiences with the animal rain, and many shared photos of the fish that fell on their properties, which wound up everywhere from residential yards to used car parking lots.

James Audirsch, a worker at a used car dealership in the East Texas town, told WCIA he and his co-worker saw fish hitting the ground after hearing a loud crack of thunder.

"There was a loud crack of thunder, and when we opened up the bay door, I looked outside, and it was raining real hard, and a fish hit the ground, and then I said, 'It's raining fish!' ... fish were droppin' here and everywhere," Audirsch told the outlet.

WCIA reported that the fish measured roughly 4-5 inches and looked to be young white bass.

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Though rare, similar animal rain incidents have taken place elsewhere.

In California in 2017, fish rained from the sky over an elementary school, leading some students to be hit with fish as they played outside at recess.

And in northwestern Serbia in 2005, thousands of frogs rained down on the small town of Odzaci due to strong winds carrying them during a storm, the Library of Congress notes.

In Texarkana, locals aren't eager to see (or smell) the raining fish again, with the city imploring residents on Facebook: "Please, for the sake of everyone, let's tiptoe into 2022 as quietly as possible."

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