It was just another day in the outback for the Australian town of Lajamanu when it began raining fish on Sunday.
Some locals thought it was ordinary rainfall before realizing it was something else entirely, according to Australia’s ABC News.
“We’ve seen a big storm heading up to my community and we thought it was just rain,” resident Andrew Johnson Japanangka said. “But when the rain started falling we’ve seen fish falling down as well.”
Japanangka said the fish were at least “the size of two fingers” and that they were still alive when they hit the ground.
“Some are still hanging around in the community in a puddle of water. … Children are picking them up and keeping them in a bottle or a jar,” Japanangka said.
Maybe even more surprising — this is not the first time the town has experienced this phenomenon.
It happened in 2010, 2004 and 1974, according to ABC.
One woman said she saw fish on the streets of Lajamanu in the mid-1980s as well.
“I got up in the morning … and the dirt streets outside my home were covered in fish,” Penny McDonald said. “They were small fish and there were a lot of them around. It was just amazing.”
Another Australian town reported fish falling from the sky in 2020, ABC reported.
Despite its periodic occurrences in the past, to Japanangka, the strange weather was no less novel.
“It was the most amazing thing we’ve ever seen. I think it’s a blessing from the Lord,” Japanangka said.
One explanation weather experts give is that strong updrafts, like tornadoes, can suck fish and water from rivers before dumping them as far as hundreds of miles away.
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According to Michael Hammer, curator of fishes at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, there is another possible explanation.
“Most of the time people arrive after the rain and see the fish scattered everywhere. And in that instance they’ve mostly just burst through with the flood that’s happened locally, from a little waterhole or something.
“But it certainly can’t rule out fish being caught up in little storms and then dropped in other places,” Hammer said.
Hammer added that it is “not unusual” for live fish to rain down from the sky, provided they were not lifted up too high and frozen in mid-air.
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