June 10, 2016 – wthr.com – Two nights in a row, a mysterious and ugly looking blob appeared on weather radar screens. It popped up over Edinburghh and Columbus and looked like a dangerous storm with clear skies all around it.
It wasn’t mother nature. The Indiana National Guard did it.
On two absolutely gorgeous days, Tuesday and Wednesday, there were blue skies not a rain cloud in sight, yet live Doppler 13 radar and the National Weather Service radar saw a dangerously nasty storm
It started in Edinburg and grew. Dick Lee an Edinburgh resident looked at the radar images and shook his head. “No it didn’t. It didn’t rain yesterday.”
But radars saw the storm pop up from nowhere. Kim Blair looked at the moving, growing red, green and yellow blob. “Storm, big storm, bad storm pretty good one.” she said.
It lasted 5 hours and stretched across six counties. But there was no storm. What happened?” Blair answered, “No clue.”
The National Weather Service pegged the problem to Camp Atterbury where troops are training. A public information officer explained that on both days aircraft activated their electronic defensive systems filling the air with something called chaff.
Chaff is like high tech confetti. It’s released by planes under attack. The chaff confuses the enemy’s radar and targeting systems.
The weather radars saw a storm that if real would have packed rain probably damaging winds and possibly hail, sending people running for cover and putting pilots on detours.
Taylor Van Deman, an instructor pilot read the radar images. “There is going to be turbulence, could be some lightening.” He said Something you don’t want to fly through? “Not on purpose, no.” Van Deman answered.
The National Weather Service said it quickly realized the radar was wrong. But people living in small towns and rural areas, who depend on weather radar to keep themselves safe, had no way of knowing.
That concerned Linda Lee, “Because, I would because I would be expecting a storm. I would want to take precautions for it.”
The National Guard public information officer said they are taking corrective actions to prevent something like this from happening again.
In the future the training facility will notify radar operators a head of time so there is not any undue disruption or concern.