Meteorologists in Northern Texas were baffled last week when their radar systems detected a thinly-shaped blob drifting across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The National Weather Service reported its radar systems picked up a strange blob sweeping over the Dallas Fort Worth area despite it not raining.
After further examination, the National Weather Service of Fort Worth stated that their “best guess is chaff.”
The NWS continued, “The military will sometimes run exercises where they release chaff, and it’s completely harmless. But it definitely shows up on radar as it is quite reflective.”
Chaff is a “radiofrequency countermeasure released by military aircraft, ships, and vehicles to confuse enemy radar.”
Chaff was first used on the battlefield during Operation Gomorrah in Germany and notably used the day before D-Day.
Wondering what this is? We were too! Our best guess is chaff. The military will sometimes run exercises where they release chaff and it’s completely harmless. But it definitely shows up on radar as it is quite reflective. #dfwwx pic.twitter.com/DD4PXL1baT
— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth) January 21, 2024
Radar technology is useful for detecting meteorological changes and patterns, but earlier this month, weather equipment picked up a more baffling phenomenon in North Texas. On Jan. 20, the National Weather Service (NWS) of Fort Worth reported its radar systems had tracked something unusual in the area. A time-lapsed video clip showed a thinly-shaped blob sweeping over Dallas-Fort Worth, but it wasn’t raining.
“Wondering what this is? We were too!” a NWS representative posted on X. “Our best guess is chaff.”
Chaff is an aluminum-coated substance made of glass fibers that are less than one centimeter in length, per an article in the Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety journal. Chaff is used as a military radiofrequency countermeasure and released from aircrafts, ships and vehicles to confuse enemy radar systems. It was first deployed during World War II when American bombers flew over Germany, according to a 1998 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). While chaff has its tactical uses, it can also interfere with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic radar and cause power outages.
A mysterious cloud moved over North Texas. Was it weather or the military?
Earlier this month, a weather radar detected a wave of something hovering over parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But it wasn’t raining.https://t.co/0N84S4Go0c
— PatriotAsAMother (@battleofever) January 29, 2024