The Library of Congress > Wise Guide > October 2010 > Cloudy with a Chance of Frogs?
Cloudy with a Chance of Frogs?

Just when you think all you have to worry about is keeping your hair covered and clothes dry when it rains, the weatherman warns you to watch out for falling frogs. And they don’t make an umbrella for that.

Pure White Star Coffee. Summary: Advertising poster for "White Star Coffee" showing three frogs, each standing on the back of another, with the topmost frog reaching for a star labeled "Pure." 1899. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC2-5738 (color film copy slide) LC-USZ62-28604 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: POS - ADV. 19th c. - Beverages .R87, no. 1 (D size) [P&P] People standing and walking along shore watching a waterspout on Vineyard Sound, Mass. 1896. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-56130 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: SSF - Waterspouts [item] [P&P]

Now, back to reality. It can’t really “rain” frogs, or other objects, in the sense that it rains water. Many scientists believe that tornadic waterspouts may be responsible for such things falling from the sky. The vortex at the center of these storms is strong enough to suck up all manner of things and “rain” them elsewhere when the waterspout loses energy. Eyewitness reports include a fish-fall in Marksville, La., on Oct. 23, 1947; a frog storm in Odzaci, a small town in northwestern Serbia, on June 7, 2005; and hundreds of spangled perch falling from the sky in Lajamanu, Australia, in February 2010.

This mystery is just one of many explained as part of the Science, Technology and Business Division presentation of “Everyday Mysteries.” These mysteries deal with everyday phenomena that often are taken for granted but can be explained scientifically.

For more weather-related resources, the Library's Science, Technology and Business Division has taken the "search" out of research by providing several tools, including an Internet resource list; a Climatology, Meteorology and Weather Subject Guide; and Science Tracer Bullets on subjects such as earthquakes, global warming and snowflakes. Search for "weather" or "meteorology" on the division's homepage to pull up a complete list of resources.