A weather balloon landed on the roof of a Washington Court House residence on Thursday and the Washington Court House Police and Fire departments were called to assist with the situation.
Weather balloons provide data for various weather-related services including forecast models, information for meteorologists, etc. and are used world-wide. The weather balloon that landed on the roof was promptly removed from the residence. As a weather balloon is a rare thing to see, officials decided to share it with the public.
According to the National Weather Service website, “twice a day, every day of the year weather balloons are released simultaneously from almost 900 locations worldwide.”
The balloon that landed in Washington Court House was labeled as belonging to the National Weather Service with a Missouri address. Of the balloons released daily, 92 are released by the National Weather Service.
The website explains that the balloon flights last approximately two hours, rise over 100,000 feet in the atmosphere and can drift up to 125 miles away. They are made of latex or synthetic rubber (neoprene) and filled with helium or hydrogen.
Since the gasses the balloons are filled with are flammable, there is a warning tied to the balloons to call the local police or fire department for proper disposal. The warning also explains that a partially inflated balloon should not be touched.
A radiosonde is a small white box that collects data. Each one contains a mailing bag with a pre-filled address and instructions on how to handle the device if found. When the balloon pops there is an orange parachute that will lower the radiosonde safely to the ground at approximately 22 mph.
The website further explains that out of the 75,000 balloons sent out each year, approximately 20 percent are found and returned. The returned radiosondes are then fixed and reused to save money.
Officials request the public to use caution if they find one of these devices and don’t hesitate to call your local responders for assistance.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.