Feb 21, 2018 I Brett Tingley

Meteorologists Unable to Explain Massive Fish Fall in Texas

Throughout recorded history there are scores of documented examples of anomalous animals falling from the sky, the most common being fish. Fish falls are one of those strange phenomena which often defy explanation; while waterspouts and/or tornadoes are known to sometimes suck fish up into the sky, carry them inland, and drop them on unsuspecting landlubbers, there are many cases without plausible meteorological causes. Case in point: residents of Fulshear, Texas were horrified recently by a rain of fish that littered homes and gardens with the reeking, mangled corpses of fish. Even stranger, meteorologists say there were no tornadoes or waterspouts in the area which could have accounted for the rain of fish. What exactly happened in this small Texas town?

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One of the fish discovered in Texas.

Houston news outlet Click2Houston reported that around ten homes in the Cross Creek Ranch subdivision found fish scattered throughout their property on the afternoon of January 16. According to some reports, some residents found up to 100 fish on their property, while others found a dozen or fewer. Most of the fish were threadfin shad, a freshwater fish common throughout the southeastern United States. Many of the fish exploded on impact, creating a grisly and curious scene for baffled Texas homeowners. One Fulshear man, Ryan Metz, described the discovery as “weird:”

I looked down and there it was laying there, three or four fish, and started walking around found about 15, found a few in the pool, so it was weird.

“It was interesting, to say the least,” Metz’s wife Dana added. Especially when given the weather recorded on the day of the fish fall. Most of central Texas was experiencing an ice storm that day, but weather nerds say the conditions observed that day don’t quite explain how the fish could have ended up in the sky miles from the closest body of water. 

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The fish were pretty small; small enough to be windborne, though?

Houston-based National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Reilly told The Fortean that the weather doesn’t quite support the waterspout or tornado theory:

Radar shows no thunderstorms, really just stratiform precipitation (mostly sleet/ice pellets). Waterspouts, tornadoes would not make sense at all from the meteorology of the day, and no hint of any rotation or anything odd on radar. It remains a mystery as far as I’m concerned.

Another theory is that the fish became essentially mummified when a nearby pond or lake dried up, allowing their much lighter desiccated bodies to be carried by the wind. Still, that doesn’t sound as plausible given the sheer numbers of the fish and the heights at which they were found on the roofs of homes. What might explain this anomalous fish fall or any of the other unexplained animal rains recorded throughout history? With a little luck we’ll never know. The world needs a little mystery.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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