Spider Weather

May 17, 2015

4d0cc3b02d630cabbca04bbe59fe83acOvercast and still dark this early Sunday on California’s north coast, and quiet. We seem to keep missing the rain, the NWS forecasts today as ‘partly sunny,’ but maybe a 40-percent ‘chance‘ of showers tomorrow afternoon.

Unlike this downpour nightmare — in Australia the rain was of spiders.
From last Thursday’s The Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Goulburn resident Ian Watson said his house looked like it had been “abandoned and taken over by spiders.”

(Illustration: Spiders ‘Ballooning‘, found here).

Of course, Mr. Watson amplified:

“The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings and when I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred metres into the sky.”
It was beautiful, he said. “But at the same time I was annoyed because … you couldn’t go out without getting spider webs on you.
“And I’ve got a beard as well, so they kept getting in my beard.”

Although scientists say these spiders supposedly aren’t harmful, the effect has to be not good.
More from the Herald:

Naturalist Martyn Robinson from the Australian Museum said two migration techniques associated with spiders would explain why locals might have thought it was raining spiders.
The first, a dispersal technique called “ballooning”, is more commonly used by baby spiders, although some adults use it as well.
The spider climbs to the top of vegetation and releases a streamer of silk that catches on the breeze and carries the spider aloft.
Spiders have been caught flying like this up to three kilometres above the ground, Robinson said.
“They can literally travel for kilometres … which is why every continent has spiders.
“Even in Antarctica they regularly turn up but just die,” he said.
“That’s also why the first land animals to arrive on new islands formed by volcanic activity are usually spiders.”
In some years, the mass migration of baby spiders means “you can have entire fields and paddocks and trees festooned with this gossamer or Angel Hair, as some people call it,” he said.

And some other astonished folks in Mr. Watson’s vicinity:

“Around the 27th April we experienced this and thought we were been invaded by spiders for two days,” wrote one woman, who said she lived 30 kilometres from Yass.
“[E]very time I’d walk outside my feet would get covered in very fine cobweb-like substance and the clothes line and clothes were absolutely entangled in it.”
Another woman said she was sitting on the front verandah on May 4 when she saw what looked like lots of silk thread “floating through the sky.”

Read another account of spiders pulling this shit at Wired from two years ago, which in that example, the spiders were maybe hunting.
An umbrella apparently would seem in actual, screaming-horrible practice, to be terribly detrimental to successfully handling spider rain — I really don’t like spiders…

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