All Weather News

Dallas to Dexter: The Journey of a Weather Balloon

22 Feb 2018, 12:49 pm

How strong is the jet stream? Enough to take a standard National Weather Service upper-air observation balloon on a journey nearly a thousand miles!

Twice a day, every day NWS offices across the country launch radiosondes, or balloons with attached weather observing instruments. Scientists use the data collected as the balloon travels upwards in the atmosphere to build vertical profiles, which are essential to understanding the structure of weather systems. When collected at a large number of locations, upper-air observations help establish the initial conditions for computer models that forecast weather and climate conditions.

On Thursday morning, the NWS office in Fort Worth, TX received word that one of their balloons got caught up in the powerful jet stream of the current storm system and traveled all the way to Dexter, MI. That’s nearly 1,000 miles away!

For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Karissa Klos.