Pictures of a massive mayfly hatch in Wisconsin have gone viral, and officials there say that the large hatch was likely responsible for a three-car accident.
The entire town of La Crosse, Wisconsin, was covered by millions of hatched mayflies from the Mississippi River on Sunday night. Reports say that weather radar picked up the huge cloud of mayflies, and amazingly, people were able to capture them as they blanketed everything in sight.
“It’s not surprising,” said entomologist Petra Kranzfelder about the radar picking up the mayflies. “They’re just such large numbers that you can see their bodies on radar.”
Police say that the humongous mayfly hatch was likely the cause of a three-car accident that happened along Highway 63 as 24-year-old Theresa L. Hunt lost control of her vehicle. Officials say the roadway was slick due to the onslaught of slimy mayflies and the visibility was diminished because of the huge cloud of them that tore through the town. Hunt’s car hit two other vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, and one person was taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries.
Despite the unfortunate accident, Kranzfelder says that it’s actually a good sign to see the mayflies and that it only ever happens once a year.
“They provide food for fish and birds and bats,” said Kranzfelder. “And the other nice thing is they transfer nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, from the river to the land. I would suggest it’s a natural phenomenon and we should take some time to enjoy it, especially since it doesn’t last long.”
Sources: The Blaze, CBS Minnesota, Star Tribune