Rain of Fish


1555 engraving of rain of fish
By en:Olaus Magnus (1490-1557) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you experienced strange weather? Ryan Geertsma and Liz Waid look at animal rains – times when fish, frogs or other animals fall with rain from the sky.

Watch Video


Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Lajamanu, Australia. Less than 700 people live in this small town. February 25, 2010, began as a normal day. However, it soon became a day that was definitely not normal.

Voice 2 

It began to rain. Water poured down heavily from the sky. But there was also something strange in the rain - living fish. Christine Balmer lives in Lajamanu. She was walking home when the fish began falling from the sky. She told reporter Richard Shears:

Voice 3 

“The fish fell in their hundreds and hundreds everywhere. The local people were running around everywhere collecting them. The fish were all alive when they hit the ground. So they would have been alive when they were up there flying around the sky. When I told my family, who live in another part of Australia, about the fish falling from the sky, they thought I was insane.”

Voice 1 

This sounds like a very strange experience. And yet, it is more common than you may think! Throughout history, people have written about animals that fall from the sky. Some records from about 2,000 years ago tell about fish and frogs falling from the sky. People call events like these “animal rain”. There is one place on earth where animal rain is common. This place is the city of Yoro, in Honduras. In fact, in Yoro, fish fall from the sky in May or June every year.

Voice 2

The people of Yoro call this particular animal rain “lluvia de peces”. In the Spanish language, this means “Rain of Fish”. The rain of fish begins with a lot of heavy rain. The skies are gray. The wind moves quickly. The storms can last up to three hours. But after the storm passes, the fish cover the streets! The fish are small and silver-colored. They are even still alive. People can collect the fish to eat.

Voice 1 

But where have these fish come from? People who have studied them say the fish are freshwater fish. That is, they do not come from the ocean, but from rivers or lakes. The fish are also all blind. They have eyes, but they cannot see. This leads some researchers to believe the fish usually live under the ground.

Voice 2 

There are some theories about where the fish come from. One theory does not come from science. It comes from a story. This is a story about a Catholic priest. His name was Father Jose Manuel Subirana. He lived in Yoro from 1856 until 1864. In Yoro, Father Subirana saw people starving. He felt concerned by this and he wanted to help. So Father Subirana prayed to God for three days and three nights. He prayed for a miracle - that God would give the people of Yoro food. The story says that after Father Subirana’s prayer ended, a storm began. During the storm, fish rained from the sky. Since that time, the rain of fish comes one time every year to the city of Yoro.

Voice 1 

Other people have more scientific explanations of the rain of fish. One theory is that the animals move themselves from their homes onto the ground during the storm. Then, when the storm ends, they are not able to return back to their homes. This theory does explain some parts of the rain of fish. It would explain why the fish are blind. If they came from under the ground, they would not need to see.

Voice 2 

Or, one theory is that the rivers flood very quickly when the rains appear. Fish move through the water onto the land. But when the water drains back into the rivers, the fish are caught on the ground. It may seem like the fish have come from the sky, but they have really come from floods.

Voice 1 

Another theory is that water spouts carry the fish. This is the theory most scientists believe. They believe water spouts cause most animal rains. Water spouts are similar to tornadoes. But they are not as strong as tornadoes. Water spouts are areas of fast-moving wind. This wind is strong enough to lift small animals, like fish, from the water. So, during a storm, a water spout forms over the water. It gathers fish from the water into the clouds. Then the clouds travel across land, following normal weather movements. Finally, the storm ends. The fish drop to land.

Voice 2 

This theory does explain how most animal rains happen. However, this theory does have some problems. Many people do not believe the rain of fish in Yoro comes from a water spout. That is because most animal rains are random. That is, they do not happen often - or year after year. The rain of fish in Yoro happens every year, near the same time. And it has happened for over 100 years in this way!

Voice 1 

Many people report that researchers have observed the rain of fish. National Geographic magazine sent these researchers to Yoro in the 1970s. The researchers found no clear explanation for the rain of fish. Today, experts still cannot explain Yoro’s rain of fish.

Voice 2 

But people in Yoro do not need a scientific explanation. They know that their city is special. In 1998 they began celebrating the rain of fish with a festival. The date of this festival is not always the same. It depends on when the rain of fish happens! People gather together after the rain of fish. They have a parade through the streets. In the parade they carry an effigy, or model, of Father Subirana. They remember that he prayed to God for food. The festival also includes a carnival. People everywhere in the city celebrate.

Voice 1

People may never know the scientific reason behind Yoro’s rain of fish. But the people of Yoro do not seem to need a scientific explanation. They call it a miracle.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Liz Waid. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called ‘Rain of Fish’.

Voice 1 

The website also has many other Spotlight programs, our word list, more information, and comments from other listeners. If you have a comment or question about any Spotlight program you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. Or you can leave a comment on the script page of the program on our website, radioenglish.net.

Voice 2 

You can also find us on Facebook - just search for Spotlight Radio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

(Get our app for Android or for Apple devices. Let us know how you like it and write a review!)

Question:

What is the strangest weather you have experienced?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
blue diamond
said on August 12, 2013

A fish_rain? How amazing it is!!!!! :D

Avatar Spotlight
JavyLu
said on August 13, 2013

Must be wonderful to watch the Rain of fish…
I need to see a Rain of fish for I am glad….
It was a fantastic story….
Regards since Middle of the world, Quito - Ecuador…

Luis Piedra's avatar
Luis Piedra
said on August 13, 2013

Excellent program

Avatar Spotlight
thanhdung07121985@gmail.com
said on August 15, 2013

This is a great topic.I have known hail rain.And it rarely happened in my town.
I Remember when I was child,I collected a medium fish on the ground after a heavy rain stopped.I felt supprized.After that I brought fish to home and told to my parent.He explained that the ground and some fish ponds were covered by high-level water.It moved fish from ponds to ground.I beleived his word.But it is not a fish rain.This is the first time I heard fish fell from the sky.What an incredible miracle!

Pablo Vinicio's avatar
Pablo Vinicio
said on August 16, 2013

nice program

Avatar Spotlight
georgino
said on August 18, 2013

I agree with Yoro´s people about this is a miracle of God, becuase when we prayed our father hear you.

Excellent topic
Friends Splt

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on August 24, 2013

I have heard about this interesting phenomenon yet, however, a view at ‘‘Rain of fish’’ must be astonishing! I would like to see it by my own eyes.
Greetings to Spotlight!

Avatar Spotlight
paulo86nirisco
said on May 19, 2014

incredible

hellokitty's avatar
hellokitty
said on May 19, 2014

I had never seen the text of ‘Rain of Fish’ so I was amazed. ‘The rain of fish in Yoro happens every year, near the same time’. I think that this happen can’t explained by scientific. I would like to see it!

Avatar Spotlight
miboo
said on May 20, 2014

it is interesting to find out somthing cannot explain by science! I don’t know this is happening over science. But it is definite that there are paranomal in the world

Avatar Spotlight
duyphongios
said on May 20, 2014

OK I remember that . I heard it on TV . It’s Amazing

Avatar Spotlight
nguyenthuy
said on December 30, 2014

wow its a amazing and im curious about rain of fish its so miracle ! i want to go to Yoro to see the rain of fist just one time . And i am curious about where the fish is in a scientific way . No matter how strange its a miracle of nature .

Avatar Spotlight
hemadacosta
said on November 18, 2015

My parents, many years ago, they saw a rain of fish in an area of Bahia, Brazil. They tell a similar story and I don’t believed. However, when I did a biology course, I discovered it is possible. I saw in a book of ecology the report about it.

Avatar Spotlight
Nguyen Ngoc Anh
said on December 28, 2015

“However, this theory does have some problems. Many people do not believe the rain of fish in Yoro comes from a water spout. That is because most animal rains are random. That is, they do not happen often - or year after year. The rain of fish in Yoro happens every year, near the same time. And it has happened for over 100 years in this way!”

This part of the story make me very difficult to understand. First, it said: most animal rains are random. That is, they do not happen offen - or year after year. Then, it said: the rain of fish in Yoro happens every year, near the same time. (That means often, year after year)

Does someone could kindly give me an explanation?

KatyBlake's avatar
KatyBlake
said on January 13, 2016

Nguyen Ngoc Anh your question is a good one. The explanation is that MOST animal rains are random. But Yoro is DIFFERENT. The animal rains in Yoro are regular. That is what makes Yoro so unusual and so special. I hope this helps.

Avatar Spotlight
Nguyen Ngoc Anh
said on January 17, 2016

@KatyBlake:

Thank you very much! I understood.

I really think that not so many people can understand by the way you explain after the listening the first time. It’s not a good way to talk, because it causes misunderstanding.

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on November 09, 2018

I can not believe it !!!
What is the amount of fish that is down up?
Are they in remarkable quantities or just a few fish that may have come in one way or another?
God bless you

Avatar Spotlight
luatdq
said on November 10, 2018

Thank spotlightenglish for a great report. I wish that i will come to Yoro on rain fish day, I think it is special feeling. I like the way people Yoro explain to rain fish that the Gold give them a fish. When they believe to God may be they live better.

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on November 11, 2018

We in Brazil urgently need a rain of thieves’ killers. As there are lots and lots of thieves in our country ... And the worst of it is that the majority are elected by the illiterate population to hold public office.