News & Politics

The Cicadas Are Showing Up on the Freaking Radar Now

There are so many of those things flying around that they're showing up in weather reporting.

The “shrimp of the sky” have finally done it. There are now enough cicadas flying around the Washington region to show up on weather radar:

As meteorologist/chaos magnet Matthew Cappucci explains, radar sends out beams that bounce off stuff in the sky, usually precipitation. But around Washington, he says, “we’re seeing a lot more clutter than normal.” That “clutter” is showing up in shapes, which means “the objects are likely biological.” That’s happened before with butterflies, he says, which strongly suggests the radar is picking up the billions of cicadas currently careening into buildings, bouncing off highways, and laying eggs in trees.


#greenscreen EW! #Cicadas on WEATHER RADAR in #DC Washington. Yuck! #EW

♬ Here Comes the Sun – Boyce Avenue

On the plus side, cicadas live four to six weeks, so their time on your own radar won’t last too much longer.


Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.