Fish Rain in Sri Lanka

Village in western Sri Lanka gets an unusual downpour


A village in the Chilaw district of western Sri Lanka experienced a bizarre meteorological event when 110 pounds of small fish rained down from the heavens during a storm.

On average, the fish were between three and five inches long and, to the delight of some villagers, edible. Many of the fish were still alive after their brief airborne adventure as opportunistic locals gathered them off the streets and tossed them into water buckets for eventual consumption.

Although the raining fish phenomenon sounds like something from the imagination of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Paul Thomas Anderson, there’s a scientific explanation for what occurred. As Steve Cleaton, a forecaster at BBC Weather Centre, explains, “In the Sri Lankan storm, a tornado probably formed over land, drifted over river systems or coastal waters, and sucked up light fish that were lifted all the way into the base of the storm cloud. Later, the fish were rained out of the cloud.”

Reports have noted that this isn’t the first time such events have occurred in Sri Lanka; 2012 saw a “prawn rain” in the south of the country.