Pictures that look like a scene from a dark sci-fi movie were taken in China this week as violent storms caused sea creatures to rain down from the skies.
The images were taken in the coastal city of Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong Province after a storm swept through the city, sucking up unfortunate animals in its path and dropping them back down onto unsuspecting members of the public.
The pictures show octopuses and starfish stuck to windscreens, as well as shellfish and mollusks that found themselves further inland than they’re used to.
The phrase ‘seafood rain’ became a trending topic on social media after the images of the different creatures stuck to car windscreens went viral.
The storm is believed to have caused waterspouts in the Yellow Sea, which are one explanation for how sea creatures such as shrimp, octopus, starfish and mollusks could have been carried out of the ocean and into the city streets.
When violent winds form tornadoes over water, the storms suck up fish and other animals into the air. As the storms travel inland and eventually slow down, the animals and sea life are then released and drop to the ground.
According to the Qingdao Meteorological Administration, violent weather was recorded in the late afternoon of June 13, including hurricane-force winds blowing at a shocking 34.8 m/s – registering a 12 on the Beaufort scale.
The hellish gale, which was coupled with hail too, caused widespread destruction throughout the city, images of the aftermath show.
The city’s meteorological service said the wind speeds generated during the storm set a new all-time record for June.
Though we talk about it raining cats and dogs, literally octopuses and starfish is something else.
After Storm Emma back in March this year, the UK saw its own sea life displaced onshore as masses of creatures, including starfish, crab, mussels and lobsters, were washed up on the coast following a drop in temperature caused by the storm.
Tens of thousands of creatures were piled up in places along the North Sea coast of the UK, including Holderness coast in Yorkshire.
Similar mass mortality was reported in other parts of the UK, including Kent and Norfolk.
Sudden drop in temperature caused invertebrate die off at our local beach. pic.twitter.com/YCmNXbid7n
— John Scattergood (@jwscattergood) March 4, 2018
Explaining the strange phenomenon, Bex Lynam, from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, told The Guardian:
There was a 3C drop in sea temperature last week which will have caused animals to hunker down and reduce their activity levels.
This makes them vulnerable to rough seas – they became dislodged by large waves and washed ashore when the rough weather kicked in.
Larger animals such as dolphins are more mobile and can save themselves by swimming away when this sort of thing happens.
Marine life washed up on the Holderness Coast – an estimated 25,000 lobsters were transported to merchants tanks at Bridlington and released at sea this morning in deeper water. #beastfromtheeast #marinewashup pic.twitter.com/wasUeS2XxH
— Yorks Wildlife Trust (@YorksWildlife) March 5, 2018
The casualties were mostly invertebrates though some fish were also found.
While most of the animals sadly died, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust worked alongside local fisherman to rescue the surviving lobsters, collecting them in buckets before taking them to tanks in Bridlington. They put the animals back in the sea once the weather improved.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.