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Twin Cities weather radar picks up 'interesting phenomenon'

The bright colors aren't a signature of rain or thunderstorms.

If you were looking at the radar in southern Minnesota on Monday morning you might've assumed that spotty rain was in the area, when in reality it was something completely different. 

The Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service tweeted a radar replay from around sunrise, saying a lot of "interesting phenomenon" showed up on radar. If you watch the radar replay in the tweet below you'll see expanding circles, which the NWS says are birds flying away from lakes. 

The brighter colors look like little thunderstorms when they're actually nothing more than reflections from the turbines on wind energy farms in southern Minnesota.

"Under the right atmospheric conditions, such as the temperature inversion this morning, the radar beam is refracted and bends toward the ground and can reflect off the blades," the NWS said in a separate tweet. "Our radar algorithm can remove stationary ground clutter, but moving objects like wind turbines show up."

That's more complicated than our brains can handle, but it sounds pretty cool. 

Last year, radar out of La Crosse, Wisconsin picked up millions of bugs, which meteorologists said was the beginning of a mayfly hatch along the Mississippi River.

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