TREMPEALEAU, Wis. - It is a rite of summer that this year, residents along the Mississippi River would rather do without.
We're talking about the annual mayfly hatch, an event that fills the air with bugs that leave the surfaces of cars, buildings and just about everything else with a slimy mess.
The La Crosse, Wis. office of the National Weather Service (NWS) says this year's mayfly hatch on the Mississippi River was so prolific that it created a bow echo on radar, similar to one that would be made by a significant rain storm. A NWS employee went out after his shift and captured some amazing images of the short-lived pests covering street lights, gas pumps, buildings, stairs -- nearly anything in their path.
The mayfly hatch was a problem up and down the Mississippi. Police in the town of Trenton say a large hatch of mayflies may have triggered a three-vehicle crash on a Wisconsin road.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports the road had become slick from the mayflies Sunday evening, causing at least one of the drivers involved in the crash to lose control of her vehicle. They also said visibility was limited at the time of the crash due to the massive cloud of mayflies in the air.
Two people were injured in the crash but only one person was taken to a local hospital.
The good news in all of this is that the onslaught doesn't last long: the life of an adult mayfly lasts only from a few hours to a few days.