HELENA — MTN shows the weather radar every single day and use it to detect rain, thunderstorms, lightning, and snow in the winter. However, the weather isn’t the only thing radar can track.
During World War II radar systems were utilized to help guide various missions and track aircraft.
However, at times radar operators noticed other echo returns that ended up being rain and storms over the pacific ocean.
Now, there are approximately 160 radar sites across the United States used to track weather, and much more.
A radar site shoots a beam out across the sky until it hits something that reflects the beam back.
Recently the Glasgow, MT National Weather Service identified grasshoppers in flight near their radar site.
The radar is lighting up! But it's not rain, unfortunately. Just countless grasshoppers flying as high as 10,000 feet above the ground! Thunderstorm chances will increase Sunday evening into early next week, but then it looks to dry out and heat up once again. #mtwx pic.twitter.com/dgTCYgM0Vh— NWS Glasgow (@NWSGlasgow) July 2, 2021
Grasshoppers are almost at biblical proportion for parts of the Hi-Line, and when thousands of these insects fly, they reflect the radar. Flocks of birds, bats, even butterfly migration and mayfly hatches have been caught on radar.
in 2017, the National Weather Service in Billings determined that a return on their radar in their area was a moving ski lift from Red Lodge Mountain.
Weather radar has picked up wind farms, moving trains, traffic on the interstate and military aircraft performing exercises.
MTN also uses radar to detect smoke plumes from wildfires.
As long as the object is thick or numerous enough in the air, chances are the radar can see it.