A Sharknado is a fictional weather phenomenon in the Sharknado film series. While in reality, animals are sometimes drawn into cyclonic weather events, the phenomena seen in the film series are extremely sensationalized for theatrical effect.
The sharknado event in the first film was preceded by a hurricane approaching the California coastline, which both caused massive flooding in Los Angeles and its suburbs, and forced many sharks toward the coast in an attempt to escape it. These sharks participated in a mass slaughter of the population beginning at the Santa Monica Pier, likely scared by their alien surroundings, exhibiting a strong fight response.
After the sharks are given ample time to spread inland, three tornados spring practically out of nowhere in Van Nuys, and the sharks are somehow able to survive, and command their trajectory to an extent. They sometimes land in shallow water, or even on the ground at high speeds and live.
The sharknados in this film are shown to be dissipated through an explosive being tossed into the eye of the storm. In real life, hurricanes and tornados are caused by hot and cold fronts of atmosphere reacting violently upon contact, and similar methods of storm dispersal have been proposed by some scientists.
In the second film, a sharknado causes an airplane to crash, meaning that sharknados can lift sharks to staggering altitudes. It also begins without being preceded by flooded. Later in the film, two small sharknados combine into a larger one, and a third blizzard sharknado also combines. From this film onward, news teams and weather forecasts become an integral part of the worldbuilding, and we see that there are shark symbols available to the weather section of the news broadcast. The sharknado survival guide was written, making it a well known phenomenon.
A shark attacks an alligator in the sewer, but no other varieties of water dwelling fauna are generally seen in the sharknado. Also, a particular great white shark from the first film returns to attack Fin while on the plane, making them question whether they are chasing after him or not. By the fifth film, the sharknado at Niagra Falls does pick up a whale.
The characters find that the explosive method seems to not be working on this variety of storm, and they use a cold air blast rather than a hot one, although it's unknown whether it was the size of the explosive that was insufficient, or the sharknados were becoming stronger. They create the blast by electrocuting a container full of freon.
The third film introduces sharknado chasers who use a cold gun like the freon to stop sharknados. They also do state that sharks who have been in sharknados can survive out of water for long periods of time, and even remain in the sky after sharknados have ended, surviving on birds. They refer to the study of sharknados and related phenomenon as biometeorology.
Fin says that he can smell the storms at this point, and recognize cloud formations. The news reporters in the film say they think Fin is cursed to be followed by sharks. Fin even thinks they want to kill him. There is a possibility that Fin is mystically connected to these events. In the third and fourth films, the idea of the Shepard bloodline being capable through adversity is briefly mentioned, and in the fifth movie, almost every member of the Shepard family appears to have died in various unrelated ways, but the entire family survives, suggesting they alone can survive the events.
Along with appearing wherever Fin goes, the storms have a penchant for destroyong landmarks and tourist spots like Santa Monica Pier, The Statue of Liberty, The Lincoln Memorial, The Washington Monument, The White House, NASCAR and baseball stadiums, Salt Lake Comic Con, Niagra Falls, the largest ball of twine in Kansas, The Eiffel Tower, and Universal Studios theme park in Orlando.
The Order of the Golden Chainsaw is introduced in the third film, which is presumably a group of trophy recipients for defeating sharknados, although it may also be dedicated to stopping them. The golden chainsaw trophies provided are also practical, and can be turned on. Fin is currently the only known member.
There are many sharknados happening along the coast, and they threaten to combine and create a hurricane (jokingly refetred to as a sharkicane) sized storm inland. The only weapon large enough to reach the eye of the storm is a laser weapon attached to a sattelite, which they launch into space to use. But sharks in a storm just below the rocket piggyback off the launch and make it into space, where they can also survive.
In the fourth film, a network of devices called Astro Pods have been built with so-called pulse effects that can keep disasterous storms from occuring, but it fails to end a sandstorm in Nevada because their technology focuses on ending water based storms, not sand ones.
At this point, a large variety of sharknados are discovered. The sandnado being the first, which then passes through the desert picking up boulders, making a bouldernado, which then passes over oil derricks creating an oilnado, which catches ablaze, creating a firenado, and then passes an electric plant, becoming a lightningnado. Also, an unrelated lavanado begins near Yellowstone. Needless to say, the sharks in these storms are covered in sand, rocks, oil, fire, lightning, and lava respectively. The Astro Pods cannot stop any of these varieties, regardless of the engineers attempts to tweak the isotopes. Finally, the lightningnado becomes a nukenado.
As the sharknadoes tear through North America, Fin must stop the storm's before the sharks reach South America and the Atlantic Ocean.
In the Fifth film, Sharks are even sent into space as they ravage the world. Mankind must save the day before the earth is in jeopardy.
In the final movie, Fin, Brian, April and Skye travel through time in an attempt to stop the Sharknados at the beginning. The very first Sharknado is shown to have occurred in dinosaur times as a meteorite shower destroys the dinosaurs. This Sharknado is made up of Megladons and is ended when Fin knocks several meteors into a Megladon which is then detonated by Brian. However, Sharknados continue to persist through time.
While struggling with an insane future version of the cyborg April, Fin accidentally creates a time storm inside of a Sharknado. The disembodied cyborg head of April, riding inside of the mouth of a shark, destroys her future self and orders Fin to activate her self-destruct in the heart of the storm. This resets time so none of the Sharknados ever happened, though some of the effects of Fin's time traveling remain such as Nova Clarke no longer hating sharks since Fin saved her grandfather. In this new timeline, the Los Angeles Sharknado never happens with the weatherman commenting on clear weather all across the nation on the day that it was supposed to happen.
Varieties of storm in order of appearance:
Sharknado Blizzard sharknado Sharkicane Sandnado Bouldernado Oilnado Firenado Lightningnado Lavanado Cownado Nukenado
According to this article, there have already been real-life cases of:
- Jellynado (jellyfish)
- Frognado (Magnolia, anyone?)
- and Smallfishnado