MOO Reports:
Why does it always rain on me?

As we approach autumn and then winter, we can expect the weather to become wetter. But as we put up with the rain, snow, hail and the like, spare a moment for those unhappy victims of much worse precipitation.

Yes, the old cliche may run that when there is torrential rain, it " rains like cats and dogs ", but some unlucky people really have been rained on by animals and much worse. One of the more recent cases in the United Kingdom, was in 1987, in Stround in Gloucestershire. Any villager out side on a particular day in October would have been met by a shower of frogs! Even more unbelievable, the frogs were a pink variety, which means that the frogs must have come all the way from Spain or Morocco. But this incident is not isolated. In Southern England alone, it has rained frogs at least another three times since the Second World War.

It does not stop with frogs though. Anyone a round in 1859, in Glamorgan, would remember a downpour of sticklebacks and minnow. Eels fell in Sunderland in 1918 and there was a shower of hazelnuts in Bristol in 1977. Rainfall consisting of snails, snakes, worms and slugs, have also been recorded in the UK.

So, why does this happen? Well, it seems that the hapless animals or objects are probably swept up by either a tornado or whirlwind, and are carried on upwards. The objects are then carried by the wind and cloud, until they can known longer hold the extra weight, when they fall as "rain ".

Britain is not alone in experiencing these freak weather phenomena, in fact far from it. The showers of shrimps, herrings, and squid, are regular occurrences in India, where they are gathered up so that they can be used in curry. Maggots fell during the Mexico Olympics in 1968, and in 1940 in the Soviet a chest full of coins fell to the delight of citizens of Gorky.

But it is the United States of America which have had the most spectacular objects falling from the sky. Imagine the horror that people in Mississippi in the 1893 must have experienced as an alligator fell from the sky. Finally, in the late nineteenth-century, skulls and bones crashed to the ground after a graveyard was ripped up by a tornado!

Thankfully, the odds of any of these falling, is minute. But perhaps we should keep these occurrences in the back of our minds as we complain about the rain this winter.



. 1999-2003 Justin Taylor / John Dray

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