July 25, 2014

Showers of Toads

The old folks always like to talk about how the weather was so much more extreme in their youth.  Well, maybe they are right.

Here is a copy of the weather record of July 1887 for Klamath Falls, Oregon.  What a month.

Temperatures getting into the 90s on several days.  
Forest fires the first half of the month.
Thunderstorms on the 6th.
And SHOWERS OF TOADS the same day.

Yes, showers of toads.  Remember this report has been certified by the U.S. Government

It turns out that showers of toads may be rare, but not unheard of, as documented by an article in the Guardian.

Here is the explanation they offer:

The young toads, or frogs, on leaving the water do not always find conditions suitable for travelling; in hot and dry weather they cannot find food and are apt to be slain by their skins getting parched. All batrachians, however, can subsist for a long time without food, and grow little during this fast; they seek shelter under damp wood, stones, or other cover; they practically aestivate, a summer slumber similar to hibernation. The sudden deluge gives them the opportunity for which they are waiting; they emerge from their shelters and set off on their travels in search of new homes. It was one of these happy bands of pilgrims, travelling in all directions, that my correspondent saw.

Could the thunderstorm in Klamath Falls have unleashed the toads?

And there are many other reports of toads falling out of the sky:

October 1683 - In Blinkling Hall, toads poured down on the Nortfolk Village of Acle.

August 1804 - It had been a bright, clear day and then suddenly a great cloud appeared. Out of it, as people watched, fell the numerous little toads.

June 1892 - A fall of little frogs near Birmingham, they were not like the local ones but were described as almost white.

September 1922 - At Chalon-sur-Saone, little toads fell for 2 days.

June 1954 - Sutton Park, Birmingham. People witnessed hundreds of little frogs bouncing off umbrellas.

January 1973 - A shower of tiny frogs about the size of nickels fell from the sky during a thunderstorm.

September 1973 - Tens of thousands of small toads fell from the sky in a freak storm onto the southern French village of Brignoles.

In fact, reports of precipitating frogs can be traced back to classical times. The Greek author Athenaeus, quoting the historian Heraclides Lembus, wrote of such an account: "In Paconia and Dardania it has, they say, before now rained frogs… So great has been the number of these frogs that the houses and the roads have been full of them."

There have been other suggestions of toads being sucked up by tornadoes and scattered around the countryside.  You heard of Sharknado.   Can you imagine Frognado?   For some reason, I like flying frogs better than flying sharks...much safer.

And by the way, the latest chapter of the Sharknado saga airs this week.  

(thanks to Mark Albright for sending me the Klamath Fall July 1887 record)

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