And the weather? It'll be raining fish

Click to follow

The fishermen of Great Yarmouth still talk about the day four years ago when, instead of having to venture out in search of whiting and herring, their catch came to them. Silvery sprats - dead but still fresh - carpeted the gardens of a row of houses after falling from the sky near the seafront.

The Norfolk town may find itself with more, if a report by a firm of commercial weather forecasters is anything to go by. British Weather Services (BWS) lists such improbable places as Great Yarmouth, east Manchester and Southampton among the places most likely to experience strange objects falling from the heavens as a result of a collision of atmospheric instability.

"You need converging air, warm land mass, instances of lightning and thunderstorms and chances of tornadoes," Jim Dale, at BWS, said. Global warming also increases the likelihood, and objects caught up in the weather system can be carried a few miles.

The main theory about their arrival is that the objects are drawn into a whirlwind, or waterspout - spiralling, rising air which builds up under thunderclouds before being deposited elsewhere. Falling fish are common when the waterspout has formed over the sea, sucking up its contents. Frogs, toads, tomatoes, periwinkles, straw and even lumps of coal have also been known to fall after the waterspouts form.