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One English saying that has always puzzled the general public about the weather is the title of today's weatherwise discussion. Has it ever rained cats and dogs?

This question can be answered by looking at the dynamics of some severe local storms such as tornadoes. These storms, which can be likened a whirlwind imbedded in the rain contain so much energy in them to lift heavy objects. The energy derives from the fact that within the storm there is great atmospheric pressure differential, which is translated into rotational motion. There is low pressure inside a tornado and high pressure exists outside. As a result the tornado acts as a vacuum cleaner. As it travels it sucks up into the storm debris and any other objects around. As the debris rises up into the storm they reach an area where there is an outflow and hence they have to be thrown out of the storm. So they come down raining (literally).

It is actually on record that in some countries such storms have sucked in domestic animals such as cats and dogs, which have come raining elsewhere as the storm moves.

Here in Malawi there have been incidents where similar storms on the lake have sucked in fish, which have later rained on land. So it actually can rain cats and dogs.


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