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National Weather Service in Glasgow releasing weather balloons to learn about Hurricane Ian

Weather balloons
Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 28, 2022

GLASGOW — It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... a weather balloon?

The National Weather Service office in Glasgow is releasing more weather balloons than normal to help forecast for Hurricane Ian.

Weather balloons are used to gain meteorological information from the atmosphere to better predict and forecast the weather, according to National Weather Service General Forecaster Benjamin Stoinski.

In other words, when these balloons enter the atmosphere, they collect data as they rise that will be used to make weather predictions.

The National Weather Service in Glasgow releases two weather balloons daily, but over the past week, the service has released an additional eight balloons.

The last time the Glasgow office did this during a hurricane was in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy, which hit the upper Atlantic coast.

The direction of the jet stream and high-level winds mean the weather in Montana could have a large impact on the hurricane in Florida, says Q2 Meteorologist Ed McIntosh.

Weather balloon spotted in the sky
Weather balloon spotted in the sky

The balloons typically last two hours before they pop and return to earth.

The National Weather Service says that if you find one of these balloons, you can keep it or dispose of it. It is important to dispose of them properly as they have a GPS tracker attached.

Julianna from NWS Glasgow with a weather balloon
Julianna from NWS Glasgow with a weather balloon

For more information on these weather balloons, please click here.