August 10 – Stranger than fiction

Today’s factismal: A “sharknado” could actually happen.

If there’s one thing that everyone agreed on last month, it was that the movie Sharknado was one of the dumbest things ever to air (even if we include the Presidential debates). But what many people may not have realized is that there is a slim thread of truth hiding in the bloated mass of over-acting and cheesy special effects that was Sharknado. You see, we really could have sharks flying through the air.

If you doubt me, then go ask the people of Lajamanu, Australia, about what happened on February 25 and 26 in 2010. Live fish were flung through the air and fell all over the town, not once but twice. Actually, if you count the times this happened in 2004 and 1974, the town has been filled with flung fish four times! So what causes a fishnado? The simple answer is that nobody knows for sure. But many meteorologists think that what happens is that a tornado either forms over or crosses a lake that just happens to have fish swimming near the surface. The surface water, complete with fish, gets caught up in the waterspout and everything falls to the ground once it hits dry land and the tornado dies.

So if a tornado happened to cross a body of water and if it just happened to have a lot of small sharks (not adult Great Whites, something more like a foot-long dogfish) and if the tornado just happened to make its way back onto land before dying out, then you might get a sharknado. Maybe.

If you’d like to help meteorologists keep an eye out for the next sharknado, or even a bit of more prosaic (but far more likely) severe weather, then why not join Skywarn? They need folks like you to keep a weather eye out and help them identify and track severe weather. If you’d like to join, head on over to:

One thought on “August 10 – Stranger than fiction

  1. Pingback: August 11 – Chomp! – Little facts about science

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