The Day Live Frogs Fell From the Sky in Dubuque, Iowa
Earlier this week, I put together a quiz with 20 Jeopardy! questions that involved the state of Iowa. While I was looking through the questions, there was one in particular that caught my eye.
Back in April of 2020, a question was asked on the show regarding a very strange weather phenomena that occurred in the state. The website J! Archive says it was:
"These creatures started mysteriously falling from the sky in Dubuque, Iowa on June 16, 1882"
I was absolutely puzzled by this particular question, especially after reading that the answer was "frogs." What do you mean that frogs fell from the sky?! I had to know more.
During my research, I came across a video from The History Guy on YouTube. He is very popular on the site, with over a million subscribers! The History Guy's page promises "stories of forgotten history, all between five and fifteen minutes long," and back in the summer of 2021, he covered Iowa's interesting frog story in a video titled, "1882 Dubuque Frog Hail."
Let's head all the way back to June 16th, 1882. The city of Dubuque had been experiencing severe storms throughout the month, but it all culminated in a massive hail storm that took residents of the city by surprise. One publication reported that hail 12 to 15 inches in circumference fell in the area, which was the largest hail that they had ever experienced. But the size wasn't the only reason the hail was strange.
According to the video, a foreman at the Dubuque Novelty Ironworks discovered two hailstones that melted, and inside were two living frogs! How is that possible? Well apparently, tornadic water spouts can cause animals, like frogs or fish, to be sucked up from water and rain elsewhere later on. It's obviously an uncommon weather phenomenon, but it's not totally unheard of!
There are actually quite a few examples of frog rain you can find on the internet, but according to the History Guy, the incident in Dubuque is the only reported example of frog hail. And the fact that the frogs were able to survive is interesting, too. As it turns out, there are lots of species of frogs that are able to survive being frozen. Who would've thunk?!
So there you have it! The true story of the day it hailed frogs in Dubuque. You can learn more about the science behind the incident in the History Guy's video below!