WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- What originally was thought of as rain, NWS San Diego branch officials tweeted that the large blob that registered on the SoCal radar turned out to be a swarm of ladybugs.
- Reports from NWS meteorologists said that the patch was moving from San Gabriel Mountains to San Diego spanning 10 miles wide and 80 miles long.
- However, an expert argued that due to the insects having heavy wings, they cannot fly high enough to show up in the equipment.
According to the San Diego branch of the National Weather Service, a multitude of California ladybugs was caught on a weather service radar map as a wide mass of 80-mile long.
Officials have tweeted that the large “echo” that showed up on the SoCal radar wasn’t rain. It turned out to be a “cloud of ladybugs.” The NWS San Diego called this phenomenon as “bloom”.
Meanwhile, NWS meteorologist Miguel Miller told KNX, the local radio station that the bloom that appeared on the screens was spotted to be traveling from the San Gabriel Mountains to San Diego. Palm Springs Desert Sun also confirmed that the swarm covered a total area of over 1,000 square miles while moving from Barstow city to 80 miles south to Riverside.
Another meteorologist for the weather service, Mark Moede told the news outlet that a Wrightwood weather spotter reported sightings of ladybugs everywhere noting a higher than the typical population of ladybugs. The mass was then connected by the weather service to this sighting.
At the time the blob appeared on screen, there weren’t a lot of clouds at the time, reported San Diego weather meteorologist Casey Oswant to the Palm Springs Desert Sun. She added that on Wednesday morning, the surge headed southward then disappeared from the screens by noon. It remained unknown where the insects came from and traveling to.
However, an expert was quite skeptic that a throng of bugs could show up so clearly on a radar map, saying for movement to register on equipment, the number would have been so great that would have turned the skies dark.
Senior scientist James Cornett of the James W. Cornett Ecological Consultants added that during winter and fall, ladybugs are known to amass in the thousands but not tens of millions. He also contended that generally, ladybugs travel north and not south for food in spring, don’t travel far and due to their heavy wings, cannot fly high enough to show up in radar equipment.
“There would have been unbelievable numbers of telephone calls to the police. It merits some investigation,” Cornett told the newspaper.
But, NWS San Diego meteorologist Joe Dandrea told the LA Times that instead of grouping, the insects were spread out and believed to be flying at around 5,000 to 9,000 feet, spanning 10 miles wide.
“I don’t think they’re dense like a cloud. The observer there said you could see little specks flying by,” said Dandrea.
Source: NBC News