Swarm of bugs appears on weather radar


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Weather radar in Ohio detected something different than rain showers recently.

The weather radar loop provided from the National Weather Service in Cleveland shows what appears to be rain showers moving through the state earlier this week. Further inspection shows that the weather was fairly nice over Ohio this past Tuesday when the radar loop was taken. So what is really on radar? The answer is a large swarm of dragonflies.

Spotting insects on radar can be difficult to the untrained eye, but the meteorologists at the National Weather Service have all of the tools that they need to identify what object the radar beam is actually observing. In this case, a swarm of migrating dragonflies was large enough to be detected on radar.

Earlier this year, the Cleveland office observed mayflies moving ashore, which gave the appearance of a rain shower.

Large swarms of dragonflies are not uncommon at this time of the year, as they typically begin migration during the month of September according to Jordan Marshall, who is an Associate Professor of Biology at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“Dragonflies especially, they do swarm to migrate and the issue is that is happens very quickly and for very short amounts of time. Yes, it’s common, it’s a normal occurrence. Do we normally see it, maybe not at this scale or this many individuals showing up on weather radar, but it’s a fairly common occurrence each year,” said Marshall.

Weather radar have detected other phenomena in the past. Smoke from wildfires or industrial fires have been seen on radar. In some instances weather radar has been able to track smoke plumes from various factories.

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