It’s Raining What?

020614As a youngster growing up in England, I often heard the expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Well, it is surprising what falls from the sky!

There are many authentic reports of frogs, crabs, snails, fish and even maggots coming down with the rain. In 1990, a Japanese sailing boat was sunk by a falling cow! In 1954, thousands of live frogs fell on the Midlands of England. In one memorable storm in 1844, it’s reported that people held out their hats to catch dozens of falling frogs. And in 1984, live six-inch flounders fell on a London suburb.

All these remarkable showers of wildlife occur relatively near open areas of water. The scientific explanation for these unusual showers is that a water spout or tornado sucks up the unsuspecting creatures, carries them high as cloud level, often freezing them on the way up. Then gravity takes over and they drop to the earth, often ten or twenty miles away.

It seems that small frogs are especially vulnerable to these unplanned space rides because they’re small enough to lift, while still offering enough wind resistance to get air borne. Since a single frog can lay as many as twenty thousand eggs, a well timed air funnel can vacuum up a huge number of small frogs and blow them sky high.

So next time it rains, you may not see cats, but watch out for the frogs.