Mystery of strange blob on weather radar on a clear day is solved

Mystery of the strange blob that appeared on weather radar on a clear day is solved

  • Just before 3pm on Monday, National Weather Service noticed something odd on its radar
  • A weird ‘blob’ appeared on its map of the tri-state area that encompasses Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky
  • The pattern was unusual since there were clear skies on Monday
  • Meteorologists could not explain the cause of what they were seeing
  • But a TV station was told that the blob was a plume of chaff released from a C-130 military transport plane 

The mystery of the strange pattern that emerged on the weather radar Monday afternoon in the Indiana-Illinois-Kentucky tri-state area has been solved.

The National Weather Service in Paducah, Kentucky spent hours trying to figure out how to explain the radar return just before 3pm local time on Monday.

The pattern was unusual because there wasn’t a drop of rain in the region. The skies were clear and temperatures were in the 20s.

Radar showed what looked like a ‘blob’ that expanded in length and moved southward.

The mystery of the strange pattern that emerged on the weather radar Monday afternoon in the Indiana-Illinois-Kentucky tri-state area has been solved

It originated south of Olney, Illinois

But the radar return was strong enough that it usually indicated a strong storm, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.


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A pilot in the area told WEHT-TV that air traffic control at Evansville Regional Airport in Indiana noticed chaff released from a military C-130 plane northwest of Evansville.

The National Weather Service explained the movement of the radar pattern.

A pilot in the area told WEHT-TV that air traffic control at Evansville Regional Airport in Indiana noticed chaff released from a military C-130 plane northwest of Evansville

Chaff is a bundle of radar reflective material made up of aluminum strips or bundles of metalized glass fibers. Military aircraft send chaff into the air in order to fool radar operators 

‘Upper level winds can be much stronger this time of year,’ NWS said.

‘However, winds aloft late Monday averaged 10 to 15 mph from the north northwest.

‘That would explain the rather slow movement and slow dispersion of the chaff debris.’

Chaff is a bundle of radar reflective material made up of aluminum strips or bundles of metalized glass fibers, according to The Drive.

Military aircraft send chaff into the air in order to fool radar operators.

Fighter jets and other military aircraft use chaff to make it hard for radar-guided missiles to hit them.

While there are no military bases that house C-130 planes in the area, the region is what’s known as a Military Operations Area (MOA).

An MOA is a designated piece of airspace which is used for military aircraft training activities.

The Red Hills MOA is a relatively large bit of airspace that encompasses Illinois and Indiana.

Nonetheless, it is unusual for a C-130 to release chaff at a relatively low altitude.

It is also strange for the chaff to stay airborne for that long and remain intact in a cohesive formation for almost half a day. 

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