The high school soccer team practice was dismissed as rain began to fall and became heavier. At a wheel and tire store nearby, employees thought they heard hail hitting the roof.
However, after the weather system passed, residents soon found that this was no normal rainstorm — fish littered the ground over a swathe of the town.
Tom Brigham, manager of Discount Wheel & Tire told The Texarkana Gazette that he saw the fish falling from the sky during the thunderstorm on Wednesday.
“It was hailing and looked like there was about to be a tornado,” he said. “And there were fish falling.”
As many as 25 to 30 fish, some six to seven inches long, littered the ground outside the business and more were on the property next door.
A smell of fish hung in the air, described as like that on a fishing dock or at a fish market, and an employee was dispatched to pick them up in case someone slipped on them.
Their heads were “busted open” indicating that they had fallen from high up. Mr Brigham described them as bouncing off the concrete when they fell.
“I started getting me a bucket to start picking them up for fishing bait.”
There was a similar scene across the street at a Ford dealership, and at the Tiger Stadium where the soccer team had practiced, with one player reportedly kicking up a fish he found lying near the sidelines.
The fish fell in three spots along Summerhill Road, but there was also an earlier report of fish from across the state line in Arkansas where they fell over a residential neighbourhood.
Homeowners were baffled, with some initially wondering if it was a prank. Others recalled hearing about incidents where fish and frogs are swept up in tornado winds or a waterspout and then fall from the sky.
While “animal rain” is an uncommon occurrence, it does happen — though how has never been officially recorded by scientists.
National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Chatelian told the Gazette: “They are picked up with the wind and come down like any debris does. They could have been picked up somewhere like Lake Texoma. They could have come from anywhere.”
He adds: “And whatever goes up, must come down.”
On its official Facebook page, the City of Texarkana posted: “2021 is pulling out all the tricks… including raining fish in Texarkana today. 🌧🐟 And no, this isn’t a joke.”
“Animal rain is a phenomenon that 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. They are then rained down at the same time as the rain,” it continued.
“While it’s uncommon, it happens, as evidenced in several places in Texarkana today. So, show us your fishy pics!”
Residents duly obliged with people reporting dozens of fish dropped in pockets all over town.
The Facebook post ends with the plea: “And please, for the sake of everyone, let’s tiptoe into 2022 as quietly as possible.”
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