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What Caused This Unusual Image to Appear on a Colorado Weather Radar Screen?

The weather here in the Front Range and surrounding areas has been pretty mild the past few days, which left some people wondering what the massive cloud-like pattern that appeared on the local weather radar could possibly be?

Thinking it might be a large flock of migrating birds, an employee at the National Weather Service in Boulder took to Twitter on Tuesday to see if anybody agreed or had their own ideas about the unique image he was seeing across the radar screen.

Because the 70-mile-wide wave was moving northwest with the wind, and migrating birds would be typically be heading southbound in October, this theory was quickly shot down on social media. It didn’t take long though, for others to solve the mystery – the massive wave was actually a swarm of painted lady butterflies, which are known to migrate to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico during the fall. The NWS commented that radar stations in the Midwest occasionally pick up butterflies, but they believe this is a first for Colorado.

Painted Lady Butterflies Arrive In England In Huge Numbers
Getty Images

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