• Image about Yoro
Art by Tina Zellmer

One theory for the fish rain held that waterspouts could form over the Pacific Ocean, and, like a tornado, suck up the fish from the water, transport them over land and then deposit them over Yoro. The spouts might be attracted to the region magnetically, due to the presence of iron ore from an ancient volcano. And, around the world, animal rains can be attributed to weather patterns. Storms and flash floods force certain animals out of their homes, after which they are then picked up by tornadoes or waterspouts, carried great distances and released somewhere else. In some cases, tornadoes have actually sucked up the entire contents of a pond.

However, in Honduras, as good a theory as it was — it was also completely implausible.

According to Francisco J. Argeñal, technical advisor at the Honduras National Weather Service, no documented evidence exists of any tornadoes or waterspouts in the region.

And, even if such a weather anomaly did occur, “it’s not possible for a waterspout to reach this place from the Caribbean Sea,” he adds. “The Nombre de Dios mountain range impedes it.” Also, if a waterspout did happen to liberate a school of fish from the ocean, that still didn’t explain why it would be so particular with its cargo. Vacuuming up animals out of bodies of water would yield all sorts of aquatic creatures of all sizes. All of the fish that rain down on Yoro are the same species and roughly the same size, no more than 11 centimeters long — meaning the waterspout is awfully picky.

In the 1970s, a team from National Geographic visited Yoro to collect more data, and they made the additional discovery that the fish were blind. This led the team’s study to conclude that the fish must originate in underground rivers, where it’s so dark they don’t need to use their eyes.

Fast-forward 30 or so years, and in 2004, an investigation by Salvadoran newspaper El Diario de Hoy analyzed all of the possible theories, including one suggesting that fish in rivers begin to swim upstream because of pressure changes. The creatures then somehow get flushed up from their freshwater habitat — either by a mysterious meteorological phenomenon still unknown, or simply flooded out of the river by the torrential rains — and are later discovered wriggling in the puddles after the rain stops. (This, of course, ignores the reports from people who claim to have seen the fish fall from the sky.) As with all the others, in the end, the paper’s report was vague, filled with uncertainty and reached no ultimate conclusion. The only thing anyone knows for sure is that no explanation has yet been proved.

The residents of Yoro, though, don’t really care whether science can or can’t understand Lluvia de Peces. They just know to watch the sky during June and July. And when the strange-looking black clouds appear, sprouting monstrous bumps, and the lightning crackles — the rain isn’t far behind. Nor are the fish.