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Jellyfish in Inner Harbor a sign of drought

The Inner Harbor's no place to swim anyway, but now you can add another reason not to go in the water downtown: jellyfish.

Softball-sized, milky white and bell-shaped, with long tentacles trailing, the gelatinous animals could be seen moving slowly about Thursday in the murky water by the Constellation.

Scientists identified them as Chrysaora quinquecirrha — the most common of sea nettles in the Chesapeake Bay. Usually, though, they hang out farther south, where they sting unwary bathers and swimmers.

But the researchers said the lack of rainfall this summer likely triggered the harbor invasion by making the water here just salty enough to attract them. It's been abnormally dry on both sides of the bay, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, with moderate to extreme drought gripping the western end of the state and the lower Eastern Shore.

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