Strange Weather Mysteries

There are many mysteries on this earth, but to this community, it’s safe to say weather mysteries are the most fascinating. How can some animals sense weather changes? What are marfa lights? How does ball lightning form?

Marfa Lights: In the small town of Marfa, TX there have been reports since 1883 of odd lights floating in the empty desert. There is absolutely nothing out on the landscape when they appear, so the origin of the lights is unknown. The Marfa Lights have gained so much fame that tourists now travel to the city to view them.

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Mammatus/Undulatous Asperatus Clouds: Clouds are a common favorite weather marvel, especially mammatus and asperatus clouds. Mammatus clouds are strangely shaped due to the ice crystals inside weighing down then lifting back up. Asperatus clouds are wavy and dark, and unlike anything ever seen before. They have inspired the creation of a new cloud classification first time since 1953.

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Raining Animals: Water animals can end up inland from a hurricane’s strong winds picking up water and displacing it, making it appear as if they came raining down from the sky. Among the most common animals are frogs, fish, and alligators.

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Ball Lightning: This phenomenon is so rare that almost nobody has seen it- scientists didn’t even recognize it’s existence until the 1960’s when there were documented cases. It can be described as an electric ball of lightning that bounces around through space. Since there are so few occurrences of ball lightning, there aren’t pictures of the phenomenon. These photos are a rendering of what meteorologists believe it might look like:

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Tornadogenesis: Tornadoes are a very mysterious phenomenon for storm trackers and meteorologists. The main question surrounding them involves how and why they form. The time between a tornado warning and a storm’s arrival is only 13 minutes, because they form so quickly and at random. For example, violent winds up to 300 mph sometimes don’t end up producing a tornado, which is quite surprising.

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Animals Predicting Weather:  Is it true that “If cows lie down, a rain storm’s coming around”? Yes, actually. Animals have biological basis that helps them predict weather. Cows drop to the ground to keep warm during a rainstorm because of the low temperature in the air, birds migrate south during the frigid winter, and elephants can sense thunderstorms from the padding in their feet.

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Megacryometeor: Hail isn’t much of a mystery, but what about a a single, massive chunk of ice falling from a clear blue sky? Megacryometeors, otherwise known as “ice bombs”, fall from the sky on cloudless days. They can be destructive, as seen in the second picture below. There are many theories on where these random ice chunks could come from, like from the wings of planes, but the truth has yet to be discovered.

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Transient Luminous Events: These TLE’s are comprised of three very rare phenomenon: red sprites, blue jets, and elves. These electrical occurrences happen over 60 miles above the earth’s atmosphere and is highly unlikely to experience in person.

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Have you ever experienced or witnessed any of these weather marvels? Tell us about it in the comments!


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20 Comments


  1. In the 1960’s (I don’t remember the exact year), I was sitting in a classroom when ball lightning came in through a window up front and traveled the length of the room before it disappeared.

  2. I WAS IN A BUILDING ON THE 3RD FLOOR, WEATHER WAS STORMY, FOR SOME REASON I WAS LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW AND SAW A WHITE TORNADO COME DOWN HEADED AWAY FROM ME , IT WENT DOWN THE PARKING LOT OF APARTMENTS DIDNT TEAR UP ANY THING, THEN A SECOND ONE STARTED TO COME DOWN, BUT NEVER HIT THE GROUND, WE ALL EVACUATED THE BLDG . AND WENT OUT SIDE INFRONT OF THE BUILDING AND SAW ANOTHER TORNADO COMMING DOWN ON TO THE FREEWAY IN 5 OCLOCK TRAFFIC, THANK GOD IT DIDNT TOUCH DOWN, I FELT SO HELPLESS. COULDNT WARN TRAFFIC……

    1. My mom saw a white tornado when she was a child. She and either a friend or family member her age were playing outside at the friend/family member’s house. They went inside and told the adults “We just saw a white tornado!”. The adults, however, said there was no such thing as a white tornado and sent them back outside to play. It wasn’t until they turned on the TV that they found out that there were tornados in the area and they quickly got the kids back inside. My mom’s little brother was still at the stage where he sleeps in a crib and when they got home, there was glass in the crib and their swing set was in the yard behind theirs. If they had been at home, her brother probably would’ve died. I am grateful that they weren’t home.

  3. It is said that we’re not taught about mammatus clouds in elementary school. Somehow though, I knew about mammatus clouds at that time–most likely because I watched the weather channel most of the time as a child. I saw mammatus clouds one day in fifth grade outside the school building after a storm passed.

  4. We were playing cards at the dining room table, when a ball lightning came thru an open upstairs window, made a right turn, descended the stairs and hit the stove in the kitchen, denting it severely. It crossed over my brother, who was lying in the bed. It was the first time anyone ever saw him in his underwear. He didn’t wait around to get fully dressed. He vacated the bedroom immediately !!!!!!!

  5. I saw mammatus clouds in Iowa once, when I was visiting relatives. I had never seen them, since I live in California, so it was really amazing. Later that night, from the same storm, we watched a lightning show out in the distance that produced about 20 bolts of CG Lightning every second, and that was truly incredible.

    1. I’ve seem mammatus clouds also. Usually in association with a tornado and lots of hail. I always called them hail clouds because I didn’t know the real name.

  6. As a kid in the 50’s and 60’s, my aunt would race around her house unplugging every plug from the wall and then we sat quietly in the dark until the storm completely passed.

  7. In 1981 in NJ, I saw lightening set a nearby condo on fire as well as striking a 4’x6′ neon sign causing it to spark and crackle all over the place. Frightening!

  8. The most wonderful lightening I’ve ever seen is in Grand Junction, CO. In August and early September we had huge electrical storms and the thunder was deafening. The lightening would” CRACK” so loud it would shake the whole house. Big bolts of lightening. It was so awesome to watch.

  9. Once during a severe thunderstorm in Birmingham, AL, we were all watching lightning striking a half-mile away across a shopping center parking lot from our studio. Suddenly, the action got really serious, because a bolt of lightning hit one of the aluminum light poles in the parking lot, and it didn’t JUST hit, it sort of stuck around for a couple of seconds, until the light pole actually MELTED like a candle in an oven. Then, it slowly bent over and fell onto a couple of cars. I would have paid admission to see that, actually.

  10. Was in Fl 2004 when Charlie came thru it emptied the lake of which an aligator lived never to return when the water returned after the tornado followed the hurricane we had no more aligator

  11. I experienced ball lightning on the Yellowstone River. Several balls of light seemed to move rapidly above the water and then pop and crackle into large flashes. I believe it happened in the 70’s…late 70’s. I was fly fishing from a boat. The storm nearly blew us off the water. Needless to say, we rowed to shore and took cover. It was amazing!!!

  12. I saw a lightning bold hit a light post and it turned into a ball of light that traveled through the cable for about five feet.

  13. Back in the 70’s while serving as an aircrewman on a S-2F (Stoof) we experienced ball lightning while flying over the Atlantic. Originated between the pilot and co-pilot and slowly moved it’s way to the rear of the aircraft where it appeared to dissipate once it contacted the rear bulkhead. I remember being told to never touch it as the resulting discharge could be fatal.

  14. Some years ago, lying in bed during a thunderstorm, I saw a ball of light about the size of a basketball up near the ceiling of the room. It moved across the ceiling into a corner and then disappeared. I’m not saying it was ball lightning, but I have no idea what it was. Any thoughts?