10 Times It Has Rained Something Other Than Water

A duck swims by a boom on a river holding hundreds of dead fish in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Lakeview District of New Orleans, Louisiana. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While it's certainly not common for the skies to rain down fish, it has actually happened in more than one spot around the globe. In 1947 in Marksville, Louisiana, a variety of fish began falling from the heavens: largemouth black bass, goggle-eye, hickory shad and two types of sunfish. The fish, 2 to 9 inches (5 to 23 centimeters) in size, were falling as closely as one fish every square yard (1 square meter).

More recently, in 2010, hundreds of spangled perch fell on a small town in the Australian Outback on two consecutive days. The small, white fish, common in this northern part of Australia, were alive when they hit the ground. Locals say this same phenomenon happened in 2004 [sources: Nobel, News Corp Australia].

What explains it? Scientists say tornadoes or the updrafts common with thunderstorms can be powerful enough to lift fish out of the water as they swirl over lakes or seas, then carry them long distances before releasing them when the updrafts lose steam. Waterspouts can snatch and carry fish as well. They can fly along at a 100-mile-per-hour (161 kph) clip, which is certainly strong enough to suck up and carry some fish [source: The Library of Congress]. No one can say for certain whether one of these phenomena caused the above-noted fish-falls. But it certainly seems plausible.