More than 100 apples mysteriously rained down upon a small British town on Monday night. The still-unexplained apple shower left 20 yards of city streets and car windshields covered in the cascading fruit just after the daily rush hour.
The news immediately brought up comparisons to biblical tales of raining frogs and whether such reported freaks of nature actually occurred. In this instance, no one has officially confirmed when, how or if the apple storm truly took place as described.
However, Jim Dale, senior meteorologist from the British Weather Services, told the London Telegraph: "The weather we have at the moment is very volatile and we probably have more to come. Essentially these events are caused when a vortex of air, kind of like a mini tornado, lifts things off the ground rising up into the atmosphere until the air around it causes them to fall to earth again."
Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright, a physicist at the Cavendish Laboratory, based at Cambridge University, told the BBC, "Cars and houses have been swept up by tornadoes, so apples are well within the realms of possibility. A tornado which has swept through an orchard will be strong enough to 'suck up' small objects like a vacuum [cleaner]. These small objects would then be deposited back to earth as 'rain' when the whirlwind loses its energy."
Nevertheless, witnesses report that the weather in Coundon in Coventry was reported to be stable and calm at the time of the alleged apple shower. Coventry residents have offered several competing explanations for the event, including a passing plane, roving teenage pranksters--and, yes, witches.
But regardless of the ultimate explanation, the apple storm is no stranger other confirmed, highly unusual forms of precipitation. The BBC offers a roster of pertinent examples:
Frog falls were recorded in Llanddewi, Powys, in 1996 and two years later in Croydon, south London. In 2000, hundreds of dead silver sprats fell out of the sky during a rainstorm in the seaside resort of Great Yarmouth.
There have also been maggot downpours--in Acapulco in 1967 and during a yachting event at the 1976 Olympic Games.
On the sliding scale of inconveniences, an apple storm seems more palatable than maggots. Though, depending on the state of the apples, it's possible that some areas could have experienced both brands of offbeat precipitation at once.
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