Fish raining down on you from the sky is rare, but fish raining down on you two nights in a row is just plain eldritch. The unlikely two-night fish rain occurred last week in a small Australian town called Lajamanu in the Northern Territory.

On Thursday around 6 pm hundreds of small white fish started falling from the sky, to the shock and surprise of the local inhabitants who live on the edge of the Tanami Desert, hundreds of kilometers from Lake Argyle and Lake Elliot and even further away from the ocean. To make things even more bewildering, the same thing happened around 6 pm on Friday as well.

Christine Balmer, an aged care co-ordinator working at the Lajamanu Aged Care Centre, said her family interstate thought she had lost the plot when she told them about the event.

“I haven’t lost my marbles,” she said to local media. “Thank god it didn’t rain crocodiles.”
Balmer also managed to snap some photos of the fish littering the ground.

“They fell from the sky everywhere”, she explained. “Locals were picking them up off the footy oval and on the ground everywhere. These fish were alive when they hit the ground.”

Lajamanu has a population of less than 700 people, of which a significant amount are of Aboriginal origin. Its only accessible by air or dirt road and governed by a combination of community government council and local tribal council.

The town is no stranger to fish rains. Back in 2004 Lajamanu experienced a similar downpour and there are also reports of fish falling from the sky in 1974. This is however the first recorded incident of fish raining down on Lajamanu two evenings in a row.

Fish rains are normally caused by tornadoes that sweep up fish, and fish captured in this fashion can travel far distances and still be alive when they land.

According to Ashley Patterson, senior forecaster at the weather bureau, conditions were perfect on Friday for a tornado in the Douglas Daly region. However, no tornadoes has been reported to the authority.

“It’s a very unusual event,” he said. “With an updraft, (fish and water picked up) could get up high – up to 60,000 or 70,000 feet. Or possibly from a tornado over a large water body – but we haven’t had any reports.”

The small white fish has been tentatively identified as spangled perch (Leiopotherapon unicolor ), one of the most widely distributed Australian native freshwater fishes.