See Jellyfish Flooding City Streets In Freak Occurence

Jellyfish filled the streets of Olympia, Washington after massive flooding.

By Jessica Scott | Updated


If you happen to have “jellyfish floating down the street” on your apocalypse bingo card, you can go ahead and check it off now. KING-5’s South Bureau Chief Drew Mikkelsen posted a video on Twitter on December 27 that depicted one of these pale, white sea creatures just randomly swimming down the street in downtown Olympia, Washington after a major flooding event. 

When other Twitter users asked what became of the Olympia jellyfish, he assured them that a “good Samaritan” named Lena Drath took the jellyfish back to the water and saved its life. In the comments beneath another video showing this act of kindness (and brave, barehanded handling of a jellyfish), Mikkelsen assured readers that the jellyfish was taken to the dock and released into the water there so that the tide would return it to its home in Puget Sound.

According to an article written by Mikkelsen for KING-5, the jellyfish was in the area after what Olympia’s Water Resources Director, Eric Christensen, called “a pretty extraordinary event.” A record-breaking high tide flooded multiple buildings and brought strange wildlife like jellyfish to the normally dry streets.

The previous record for high tide was set in 1887, when it hit 17.99 feet. On December 27, though, the tide reached a whopping 18.4 feet. The city had been bracing for the possible surge of water, but when the barometric pressure went down extremely low, the tide turned out to be much higher than anyone anticipated.

Capital City Yachts’ office workers came in to find four inches of water in the building, for instance… not to mention all the jellyfish floating down the road. One of the largest concentrations of said jellyfish was, a bit ironically, located around a local seafood restaurant. This is where Lena Drath, the Good Samaritan, scooped up many of them and took them back to Puget Sound.

Otherwise, they likely would have died, as jellyfish cannot survive long without water. Those who don’t live in Washington may be surprised to learn that such an exotic-sounding sea creature is actually very common in Puget Sound. Washington’s Department of Ecology has reported that there has been an increase in jellyfish in this body of water, especially in the summer, when “smacks,” or large masses of jellyfish, can be found swimming together.

There are so many of them, in fact, that they can even be seen from the air. Some of the jellyfish smacks mentioned above can contain millions of jellyfish at a time. Researchers study the color and conditions of these jellyfish to find out how the population is doing. Studies from 2014 and 2015 showed that they were flourishing in the sound and that many more jellyfish were coming into the area than had been there previously.

The increase in jellyfish in the area was determined to likely be a result of changing water conditions, such as an area of warm water affectionately referred to as “the Blob” that came from the Pacific Ocean in 2014. It may also have had to do with a major drought in the area in 2015.

So, while the headline does seem bizarre, it isn’t too far-fetched to think that a few jellyfish may have escaped Puget Sound to go for a swim in the streets of downtown Olympia. It still makes for quite an eventful morning, though!

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