Voice: Do you know the expression ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’? If someone uses this popular phrase to tell you what the weather is like outside, they aren’t telling you that cats and dogs are dropping down out of the sky. They are simply informing you that it’s raining very, very heavily.
But have you ever heard anyone say ‘It’s raining apples’? This isn’t another popular phrase to describe bad weather. It is something that actually happened in a suburb of the English city of Coventry one evening last December. The sky opened up, and hundreds of apples rained down on startled motorists as they were driving home.
The sudden shower of apples pelted cars on a busy stretch of road just after rush hour.The weather forecast had said that there would be rain and wind in the area at this time, but weather reporters had said nothing about apples cascading down from the sky.
The deluge of fruit brought traffic to a standstill on the B 4-0-9-8 road which leads from the city centre. At exactly six forty-five, apples hit windscreens and banged down onto car roofs.
All vehicles on the road screeched to a halt, with some skidding on the mushy fruit that suddenly coated the road surface. It was a miracle that there were no accidents. One driver said that for a few seconds he lost control of his car, adding that it was like driving on ice.
Many of the drivers had to stop because they could not see through their windscreens because of a sudden coating of thick apple pulp. Some drivers said the noise inside their cars was like bullet-fire as apples hit the tops of the cars.
One driver, who was travelling home with her husband, reported later that the apples just fell out of nowhere. They were all small and green and hit the roof, bonnet and windscreen with great force.
Strange things falling out of the sky during bad weather is not a new phenomenon. In 1967, thousands of maggots fell out of the sky during a storm in Acapulco, Mexico. In 1998, people in the British town of Croydon were alarmed when hundreds of frogs fell from the clouds onto their streets and gardens during a rain storm. And at the 1976 Olympic Games, thousands of insects fell on competitors during a yachting race.
No one has come up with a plausible theory about the downpour of apples in Coventry last December. Weather experts say that the apples could have been gathered up by a mini tornado and then suddenly dropped. But there are no apple orchards anywhere near Coventry.
Another theory is that the apples fell from a plane transporting fruit across the UK. But the apples that fell were small and green. They were not the sort of apples that people buy in the supermarkets.
The reason for the freak apple downfall over Coventry may never be known. Looking back, people caught up in the freak weather event are thankful for two things: that it wasn't thousands of maggots or frogs that fell on them, and that there were no accidents during the fruit downfall. Things could have been a whole lot worse.