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Rain Cloud Over My Head: Why Videos of Weird Weather Are So Popular Online

A cartoonish symbol of bad luck might actually be a real thing.
Bambang Noer Ramadan

Tropical countries like Indonesia are used to experiencing massive amounts of rainfall, much of it doesn't make the news, but this week a certain "storm" blew up the internet.

There was a miracle of schadenfreude happening in Tebet, South Jakarta. A twitter user posted a video of a cloud spitting out rain over just one home and leaving the others dry. The tweet read, "The rain was falling on just one house in Tebet, while the other houses were so dry!"


The house belongs to Muzakir. Rain reportedly fell on his house for six hours, while other houses were dry. As expected, people on the internet link the phenomenon to mysticism.

"When the rain fell I felt hot—this is God's will," Muzakir told local media. "It's nothing special. I don't want people to link it to supernatural things."

Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said that it's totally possible for rain to fall onto one spot. It all depends on the temperature, humidity, clouds, and other factors.

"So it's natural that the rain only falls on a very small spot of land. It's natural in the right conditions," Hary Tirto Djatmiko, BMKG spokesman, told local media.

Indonesian media ravenously jumped on the story with sensational headlines like "The Mystery of How It Only Rains On One House: Is This Mystical?". As if it were a supernatural phenomenon. But really, it's probably bullshit.

It's easy to see why people get confused, even experts in Indonesia give mixed messages on whether it's actually possible for rain to fall in one spot. The head of the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) Halimurrahman said rain can fall onto relatively small area. He told local media that the 6-hour rain was possibly caused by the cumulonimbus clouds that are much bigger, making the chances of this happening almost impossible.

The love for this "raining in one spot" hoax goes back to at least 2016. When a video from Togo in West Africa showed a torrent of water supposedly pouring out of the sky on just one spot. Snopes pointed out that it was actually a burst water main gushing out of the ground instead of miraculously sprouting out of the sky. Debunking articles like these haven't slowed the popularity of this weird internet fascination, a few months back this video came out of China showing a single car being rained on.

A quick search on YouTube shows dozens of videos purportedly showing rain happening on a single spot of the ground. Kind of like a rainbow, people see these and think, hey, this is an awesome natural phenomenon. But really, you're probably looking at a burst water main, or worse, sewage. Talk about shit luck.