Could a Sharknado actually happen?

July 24, 2014

Should we start preparing for a shark-related apocalypse? (SyFy)

As “Sharknado 2” looms (9 p.m., Wednesday on SyFy), you may wonder if the premise — tornadoes lift sharks from the ocean and drop them over Los Angeles — holds water.

I was working for National Geographic when the original “Sharknado” aired and asked myself that very question. My intern and I did research. Here’s what we found:

There’s a thing called a waterspout — a tornado that strikes over a body of water. Its winds could lift animals at the water’s surface, carry them off and deposit them on land. 

Waterspouts are thought to be responsible for a snail rain in England on May 28, 1881, a plummeting alligator on Dec. 26, 1887, in Kentucky (The New York Times covered the story) and a worm downpour in Jennings, La., on July 7, 2007 (prompting a police department employee to proclaim, “It’s worms! Get out of the way!”).

But don’t expect a shark shower. Christopher Vaccaro, a National Weather Service spokesman, told us: “The sharks wouldn’t even be close enough to be entrained in the circulation of the water spout in any way, let alone would they be lifted because they weigh so much.”

Want more of Marc’s musings? Try these: 

What does paying for HBO REALLY get you?

Keep the bleeps on HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’

‘I Wanna Marry Harry’ is no more fraudulent than ‘The Bachelorette’

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.
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Holley Simmons · July 24, 2014