There were many serious and terrible weather events in 2021, including massive and long-burning wildfires along the West Coast, destructive tornadoes from North Carolina and New Jersey to Kentucky and Illinois, deadly "heat domes" over the Pacific Northwest and a deadly freeze in Texas, and an active hurricane season that battered Louisiana but also wreaked havoc on the Northeast. But the year ended with a weather phenomenon in East Texas that was more bizarre than dangerous.
The year "2021 is pulling out all the tricks," the city of Texarkana said on Facebook last Wednesday, "including raining fish. ... And no, this isn't a joke." The phenomenon of "animal rain," Texarkana explained, "occurs when small water animals like frogs, crabs, and small fish are swept up in waterspouts or drafts that occur on the surface of the earth" and "then rained down at the same time as the rain."
One Texarkana resident, James Audirsch, told KTAL TV that he and a coworker at an auto dealership, Brad, watched the storm from work. "It was raining real hard and a fish hit the ground," he said. "I said, 'it's raining fish.' Brad was like, 'no it's not.' I was like, 'no it really is.' And fish were dropping, here and everywhere."
The fish raining down on Texarkana appear to have been young white bass, but "animal rains" can be any small water-faring creature, NBC News reports. "In Kansas City, Missouri, it rained frogs in 1873. In Japan, tadpoles rained down in 2009. In Australia, it was spangled perch in 2010" and 2015.
Texarkana urged residents to "show us your fishy pics!" but also asked that, "for the sake of everyone, let's tiptoe into 2022 as quietly as possible."