We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Does It Rain Fish?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Fish don't usually fall from the sky, but this unusual meteorological phenomenon is possible although rare. The best explanation for this odd occurrence is that strong air disturbances, such as tornadoes, can lift water and fish up into the air. Then, the tornado can carry them for some distance. When the tornado becomes weaker, its energy is not capable of holding objects up off the ground any longer, and it begins to rain fish. This can also be referred to as "animal rainfall," but often, the event is simply described as "raining fish."

A tornado is a very strong wind that twists around itself. The inside of the tornado, known as the vortex, contains calm air. The outside air moves upward and around the calm center. The air at the bottom of the tornado is constantly moving upward, so as the air moves, new air is pulled up after it. This draws in objects underneath the tornado and sends them upward.

Fish live in water, but tornadoes usually begin over land. If the tornado then moves over water, it can create what is known as a waterspout. Instead of pulling air upward, it pulls water upward. Fish in the water can also be drawn out at the same time.

Waterspouts can move at speeds of up to 100 miles (161 kilometers) an hour. This means that fish can travel far away from their original location. The waterspout can only maintain its violent energy temporarily, and when it loses momentum, it can rain fish. Fish may, surprisingly, survive the waterspout and the fall to the ground. If the air inside the tornado is cold enough, the fish may also freeze.

The meteorological phenomenon of waterspouts does not just have the capability to rain fish. Over the centuries, there have been reports of skydiving frogs, crayfish, and lizards. Stones can also fall from the sky.

One report from the mid-1900s even tells the story of a rain of candy. Most of the unusual rainfall items can be traced back to water sources. With items falling from the sky, another more mundane possibility is that they were dropped from an aircraft.

A feature of events that rain fish or other items is that usually only one type of object falls on one area. Scientists suggest this is because each item differs in weight and size from others. The lighter and smaller objects tend to be carried for longer periods than heavy and large objects.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By tigers88 — On Jun 01, 2011

@jonrss - It is probably not actually possible for it to rain frogs. The only reason it can rain fish is that they exist in great concentration in bodies of water. But there are few if any places where there are tens of thousands of frogs just sitting around in the same place. Sorry to burst your bubble. I have seen Magnolia and I love that scene. There is a part of me that always wished it would happen where I lived. It would be terrifying at first, but might end up seeming kind of magical.

By jonrss — On May 30, 2011

Has anybody seen that movie Magnolia? At the end it rains frogs over Los Angeles. One of the the themes of the movie is that the extraordinary is possible, even taken to the extreme. I wonder if it is actually possible for it to rain frogs or if this just came out of the filmmakers imagination?

By Ivan83 — On May 28, 2011

I used to love this metal band called rain of fish. I thought it was just a clever title. Lots of metal bands will use violent of unusual images as band names to create a picture in the minds of listeners. I guess this one was based on fact. When I actually think about it, fish rain does not sound all that metal.

By backdraft — On May 26, 2011

I live in Missouri where we have had several huge tornado over the last few weeks. The destruction has really been terrible. I don't mean to minimize anybody's loss or all the terrible things that have happened, but I wonder if it rained fish anywhere? Maybe after things calm down I will find someone to ask.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.