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updated: 5/31/2014 2:21 PM

Radar picks up grasshopper swarm over Albuquerque

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Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Weather officials in Albuquerque say a mysterious presence that showed up on its radar the last few nights has turned out to be of the insect variety.

The National Weather Service says a swarm of grasshoppers were detected over Albuquerque's West Mesa for the fourth night in a row on Friday.

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Meteorologist Chuck Jones says the swarm got caught up in winds heading southwest and is being carried as high as 1,000 feet.

Jones says the grasshoppers likely hatched weeks ago and are now grown, leading to their ability to trigger radar images.

Officials say last year's monsoon season and a drier winter created the ideal environment for the grasshoppers to hatch.

Technicians initially thought their equipment was malfunctioning when they saw several unexplained clusters.

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