Citizens of the Chinese province of Liaoning were reportedly advised to carry umbrellas as a “rain of worms” pummeled the city, coating cars and roads in a thick layer of squirming insects. Or did it? The bizarre footage of the worm storm quickly went viral, sparking a massive online debate regarding the truth of the strange scene.
In the viral clip, a passerby walks along the sidewalk, filming as they pass cars covered in what appears to be hundreds of brown worms. Though there’s no rain, residents carry umbrellas to protect themselves from the wacky worm weather.
China was hit with a— Nilofar Ayoubi (@NilofarAyoubi) March 10, 2023
“worm rain” as residents asked to carry umbrellas
The exact cause of the deluge of insects remains unknown. Experts with the scientific journal Mother Nature Network, however, suggested that it was the result of the tiny creatures being swept into the air by heavy winds and subsequently dropped on the city.
In the journal, scientists noted that this type of occurrence isn’t quite as out of the ordinary as it seems. Strong storms have been known to drop all kinds of creatures into unexpected places, from frogs to fish to worms.
That said, not everyone is convinced of the veracity of the worm rain claims. Many users took to the replies to deny that the city suffered a flood of worms. Instead, they believe the worm-like objects are actually poplar flowers. Blooms from this type of tulip tree, they said, closely resemble earthworms.
“These are not worms or animals but flower stalks dropped from trees,” one user argued. “The things that fall from poplar trees in spring are not caterpillars but inflorescences of poplar trees. When poplar flower spikes start to fall, it means that they are about to bloom,” wrote another.
The ‘Worm Rain’ Might Not Be Real, But There’s No Denying Fish Rain
So, maybe it rained worms in China, maybe it didn’t. Whether or not the worm rain is real, however, it did, in fact, rain fish in Australia back in February. Is that better or worse?
Residents of Lajamanu, a town on the northern edge of the Tanami Desert, were hit with a heavy rainstorm. But as they listened to the rain fall, they began to hear strange slapping noises rather than the typical gentle patter of raindrops.
Looking outside, the were shocked to find that mixed with the rain was hundreds of tiny fish. “When the rain started falling, we’ve seen fish falling down as well,” Lajamanu councilor Andrew Johnson Japanangka told ABC News.
The fish were at least “the size of two fingers,” he said, with many still alive after falling from the heavens. “Some are still hanging around in the community in a puddle of water. Children are picking them up and keeping them in a bottle or a jar.”
According to fish expert Michael Hammer, it’s “not unusual” for fish to rain down alive in a severe storm. “It just depends what the local weather patterns are,” he said. “What forces would be needed to lift them out of the waterhole specifically, and then up into the air, would be pretty interesting.”