It’s a bird, it’s a plane -- it’s corn husks?

courtesy Gail Galloway on Facebook

You’ve probably heard corny jokes, but how about a corny story? Well, Gail Galloway on my Facebook page posted the above picture with this yesterday: We had over 50 corn husks falling from the sky. What do you know about this. We are in Someday Farm. And Gail says they have horses, not corn. You can see a few scattered corn husks here from around 4 p.m.:

From Gail Galloway in Hockley
Raining corn husks!
Raining corn husks!

Stranger things have rained down -- frogs and fish -- after tornadoes pull them from ponds, swirl them into the sky and then deposit them on Main Street one town over. Meteor debris, of course, and weather balloons fall back to ground miles away from launch. Around here, I’ve even blogged about muddy rain when West Texas dust gets picked up by strong cold front winds and then the rain we get is basically a bunch of mud on our cars!

I’ve never heard of corn husk rain events, but Google has! Wichita, Kansas, had a big cornhusk outbreak (OK, I hyped that a bit) back in 2001. From The Daily Nebraskan: “In Wichita, Kan., it has not been raining cats and dogs; instead it has been raining corn husks. Residents of Wichita and the surrounding areas reported seeing large brown corn husks falling from the sky on the afternoon of Aug. 3. Falling husks also were spotted over the weekend and have continued sporadically through the week.”

The same article interviewed the local National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Hysell about what happened: “The meteorologist said thermal action was more likely a suspect. But there hasn’t been a definite conclusion,” Hysell said.

Hysell explained that thermals occur when the days were warm and dry. Thermals, which function like small whirlwinds, have the ability to pick up lightweight objects and deposit them far from their source.”

I checked my data sources and guess what the temperatures were in Wichita, Kansas, August 1-3, 2001? Triple-digits every day! 100-103° with little wind to speak of.

And what about our last three days? I don’t have to tell you. 102°, 101°,105°. Winds yesterday were light, but 5-8 mph and out of the southwest. Meaning any cornfields to the southwest of Gail’s Someday Farm could be the source! Back to Google maps:

Southwest winds yesterday

Most of the farms to Gail’s southwest are growing hay with even a Christmas tree farm. My guess is that there is some corn being grown out there, too, and especially with this drought, there are more than a few corn husks floating around. This is the time of year, too, that harvesting begins for corn and that will add to the husks in the air. A corn husk only weighs a tenth of an ounce, by the way! My conclusion: the hot air from yesterday was rising, and those light husks rose with it then southwest winds carried them northeast to “rain” on Gail.

Interesting phenom and if anyone has any other ideas, send them my way! Thanks Gail for the story and pics!

Stay cool today -- another scorcher!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.