5 Bizarre Ways the Weather Can Kill You Without Warning

Sometimes mother nature is passive aggressive, throwing a horrifying curve ball out of the clear blue sky.
5 Bizarre Ways the Weather Can Kill You Without Warning

Mother Nature is kind of a bitch.

Hurricanes, floods and tsunamis are all her little ways of letting us know that, deep down, she hates us. Possibly for all those times we razed a forest to build a CostCo.

But sometimes mother nature is passive aggressive, throwing a horrifying curve ball out of the clear blue sky. Something that you could never see coming. Something that you probably didn't even know was possible. For instance ...


What the...?

So there you are, minding your own business on a nice, clear day when you suddenly get totally killed by a big damn chunk of ice falling out of the sky.

This isn't wimpy hailstone bullshit, either. Megacryometers (the scientific name for "big damn chunk of ice falling out of the sky") are known to weigh up to 450 pounds or more. And this isn't something you see in the arctic, either. The largest stone on record was in Brazil (a country known for its vast quantities of things that aren't ice) and weighed in at a whopping 484 pounds. That will crush your house. Or at least fuck it up pretty good.

They're also known to leave huge craters and are commonly mistaken for meteors. Which they might as well be, if you're the guy who just got his skull pulverized by one.

What? How?!?

Science doesn't exactly know how such a deadly projectile can form naturally. For a while, they were thought to be ejections from airplane bathrooms, but the discharge from those airborn chemical toilets is always blue due to disinfectants they add. These monster hail stones, on the other hand, are white and can fall pretty much anywhere with no real pattern.

Scientists didn't start seriously studying them until 2000 when Spain had a 10-day hailstorm with stones up to six and a half pounds ... without so much as a cloud in the freaking sky. They seem to be most common in the middle of winter. And the middle of the summer. Figure that out.

So what we're saying is it's pretty much like God is throwing darts at the Earth, except instead of darts, He uses chunks of ice that could kill an elephant.

Chances of it Happening to YOU:

These things happen in every part of the world with little rhyme or reason, except that whole thing about being more common in mid summer and mid winter, which obviously does nothing to help you. The sky could pretty much fall right on top of you at any moment, any time of the year.

This one in the picture above fell in some dude's living room while he was watching The Exorcist. Seriously.

There's not even some kind of warning, like high winds or sudden temperature change, just a quick whooshing sound before impact. You'll have just enough time to look up before the giant hailstone wipes the surprised look off your face, or more accurately wipes your surprised face off of you.

Ball Lightning

What the...?

So you're just sitting alone, minding your own business. Maybe it's during a thunderstorm, maybe not. But then, suddenly, you see a bright glowing ball of light pass through a wall without leaving a mark. Or maybe it destroys the whole damn wall.

Welcome to the completely baffling phenomenon known as ball lightning, which, thankfully, is not simply the name for regular lightning that happens to strike your balls (sadly, there is no name for that).

This is just a glowing ball of energy, floating through the air like Satan's fastball. Or imagine Tinkerbell, only without the 6 inch tall stripper in the middle of the glowy ball and possibly burning everything in its path. That's ball lightning.

Above: Ball lightning...maybe.

What? How?!?

Ball lightning is so strange, for the longest time scientists just thought people were making shit up. Witnesses who reported it had the same credibility as UFO abductees.

And while they're at least trying to study it now, we still have no clue how it works. Some people think it's a special kind of static electricity. Some think it's electrified silicon. Some think it's a big ball of What The Fuck that has somehow adopted physical form.

Another theory that's actually taken seriously, despite it being batshit insane, is that ball lightning is caused by singularities, which is something really massive that doesn't actually take up any space, if you can wrap your head around that. That was the theory after some ball lightning left a wake of destruction in Ireland.

Chances of it Happening to YOU:

It's estimated that 1 in 20 Americans have seen ball lightning, meaning that there's probably thousands, of people reading this who have seen it. Granted, you probably mistook it for a UFO, or a Hadouken...

...but you saw it. If you see it again, try to catch it in a jar or something. Scientists want to study that shit.

Raining Animals

What the...?

So you're sitting in the middle of a thunderstorm, minding your own business, when a goddamned fish slaps you in the face.

You stare stupidly at the thing flopping around on the ground in front of you, when you're smacked in the head by chunks of frozen frog. You're gonna need a bigger umbrella, because it appears a nearby fish market has exploded.

What? How?!?

Actually, it's not that. What's happened is a tornado has hit a small body of water, flinging fish and amphibians into the air for miles around.

Often the creatures are still alive and relatively healthy when they hit the ground, making for a terrifyingly Biblical scene as live fish flail around in the middle of the street. However, sometimes, the animals are flung high into the atmosphere and frozen solid before making your street look like the frozen food section of a post-Apocalyptic Wal-Mart.

Most horrifying of all, in some instances the animals are completely and totally pureed by the storm, torn into a rain of pink bloody chunks. We challenge you to find a more perfect time to play that song 'Raining Blood' by Slayer.

Chances of it Happening to YOU:

This phenomenon has happened fewer than 20 times in the past decade, not counting Honduras, where it supposedly happens twice a year (which the cats there must think is awesome).

So unless you live in Honduras, you're pretty safe. However, there is that one in a billion chance you could get caught in a repeat of Bath, England's 1894 rain of jellyfish. In that case you're pretty much screwed, especially if you happen to be naked at the time.

Heat Burst

What the...?

So you're relaxing on your porch after a storm, pretty much enjoying yourself when you notice the temperature going up, and fast. Like somebody just turned on an oven, and you're inside.

Then, a howling wind kicks up out of fucking nowhere and knocks you flat on your back right there on your own damn porch. And maybe takes the porch with it, too.

They call it a heat burst. They're as vicious as tornadoes, only tiny and even harder to predict. The first one on record is in Portugal, 1949, and while there were no official instruments to record the temperature, it was reported that it spiked from 100 to 158 degrees in only two horrifying minutes.

Then, just like that, it was gone.

What? How?!?

Like most of the items on this list, scientists only have an educated guess as to what causes these sudden, pants-shittingly rapid rises in temperature.

What we know is there is also a huge drop in moisture in the spot. They usually appear in the wake of a storm, so one explanation is that evaporated water mixes with air, which causes it to drop really fast. This compresses the air, and compressed air naturally heats up. Then it expands, creating a sudden wind that breaks shit.

We like to think of it as mother nature farting right in your face, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Chances of it Happening to YOU:

There have been four reported heat bursts in the United States this year. It's still a pretty slim chance the thing would actually hit your town, but it's not like you can really do anything about it if it does.

That's the thing, even a tornado gives you some warning. These things can just pop up and start smacking you with broken tree limbs. What could be worse than a sudden invisible mini-tornado?

Invisible Tornadoes

What the...?

This one is like a scene from a horror movie. There you are, minding your own business, say, camping with your girlfriend. Then comes this strange sound, and the wind picks up. You can't tell which direction it's coming from...but it's close.

When you get up to investigate, BAM! You get slammed with a 100 mile an hour wind, and flung 500 feet away.

It's the fabled invisible tornado, or as we like to call it, the ninja tornado.

Photoshop courtesy of Bakudai.

What? How?!?

The only reason you can see a regular tornado is because of the dirt and water particles flying around in it. Its just swirling wind, after all.

However, tornadoes sometimes happen in places with little or no debris to pick up, like rocky deserts. All it takes is a vast difference in temperature between weather systems. In an environment with no moisture, you'll have a whirling cloud of death that you will never see coming.

No tornado here. Or is there?

Chances of it Happening to YOU:

These things are pretty rare, even in the rocky desert. Still, if traveling to such an area, we recommend you scatter a ring of debris around you wherever you go, just in case. For many of us, this does not require a change in lifestyle.

For more reason's to be afraid right now, check out The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World. Or check out our liveblog of last night's Presidential debate.

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