Wednesday, July 31, 2013

They are Called R-A-W-I-N-S-O-N-D-E-S

How many times have you heard a television meteorologist refer to "upper air data" or "weather balloons"? I'm sure it is many times. They carry a small instrument package (in his left hand) that reports on pressure/altitude, temperature, humidity, and -- by tracking its ascent and drift -- the wind speed and direction at various levels above the ground.

Ever wonder what happens to the weather balloons? After all, what goes up must come down.  Here is what it looks like. The parachute is at lower left.

The weather stations listed on these maps routinely launch the balloons. Note the "WAL" which is the three letter identifier for Wallops Island, VA.

Well, a funny thing happened in Norfolk, Virginia, yesterday evening: They called the bomb squad!

And, yes, one lady thought it was an extraterrestrial.

Good thing they didn't call the TSA. The entire neighborhood would still be enduring grope searches!

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