TOPEKA (KSNT) – The U.S. military is monitoring a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon hovering over the country.
27 News received multiple reports and videos from viewers who saw the balloon in the sky.
The National Weather Service has weather observation balloons that look similar to the one people spotted on Friday.
“It gets up to about 25 feet in diameter once it gets up to its highest point,” forecaster Chelsea Picha said. “The sensors measure temperature, humidity and wind.”
Observing weather patterns is one of the main goals of the weather balloons, but as of Friday evening, nobody knew what the unidentified balloon was doing.
Picha told 27 News that they burst at a certain height, but the unknown balloon seems to be flying for a while. Picha says their balloons serve a crucial function for predictions and decisions.
“The more observations we have, the more accurate our forecasts will be,” Picha said. “This leads to better warning decisions.”
The National Weather Service tests often, but they say people should have no reason to fear the balloons.
“The balloons themselves are harmless, so they don’t harm the environment, Picha said. “Since they have the parachute, they do fall safely back to the ground.”
It is still unknown who the balloon belongs to. 27 News will continue following the story and provide updates when they are available.