After experiencing a wet spring – receiving nearly twice as much rain that is normal for the region – hordes of grasshoppers have descended upon Sin City. The groupings are so large that weather radar mistook the horde of insects for heavy precipitation, making it appear as if a rainstorm was pummeling the city.
“It looked as though it should be torrentially downpouring in Las Vegas,” said Allison Chinchar, a CNN meteorologist, according to a report by Fox 43.
After adjusting a few of the radar’s settings, meteorologists realized that the “storm” was actually huge groups of grasshoppers that had shown up in the city over the course of a few days.
“It appears through history that when we have a wet winter or spring, these things build up often down below Laughlin and even into Arizona,” said Nevada Department of Agriculture state entomologist Jeff Knight.
“We’ll have flights (of grasshoppers) about this time of the year, migrations, and they’ll move northward.”
Knight asserts that the massive hordes aren’t necessarily unusual considering the amount of precipitation during the spring. In 2019, Las Vegas has had approximately 4.63 inches of rain so far. The average for the same period is 2.38 inches.
“We have records clear from the ’60s of it happening, and I have seen it … at least four or five times in my 30-plus years,” said Knight. “There are some special weather conditions that trigger the migration.”
Social media has been flooded with images and videos of the hordes of grasshoppers. Pictures have emerged showing car tires and hoods being covered in the insects, and massive groups gathering near various light sources, particularly those that emit ultraviolet light.
Green spaces are also being overrun. Grasshoppers often flock to those areas to find broad-leafed weeds to eat.
It isn’t clear how long the swarms will last, and some experts say that the hordes of grasshoppers may be around for several weeks. Officials recommend simply waiting out the grasshoppers, as the insects are harmless and pesticides won’t do much good considering the size of the population.