Local high school students witness weather balloon launch

MCDOWELL COUNTY, (WOAY) – With a slight breeze outside Thursday made for the perfect conditions to launch a weather balloon.

Students at Mount View High School got to witness the balloon launch from their own football field. The launch served as a way to encourage these future scientists, to possibly pursue a career in science and as part of the lesson teachers want the students to understand how weather is predicted.

On the bottom of the balloon is what meteorologists call a radiosonde which transmits the crucial weather data back to the crew on the ground.

“We have GPS tracking in five minute intervals so we can monitor that live,” said McDowell County Schools Computer Engineer Walter Newcomb. “We have a flight computer that will monitor height and temperature we also have a GoPro getting 1080P footage for the duration of the flight or until the battery runs out. We are going to share that data with our students and our science and math teachers and hopefully get this kids interested in science, weather systems, distance, and that kind of stuff.”

The balloon reached a maximum height of 28,000 feet and traveled 182.2 miles before landing along route 60 just east of Lynchburg, VA. The radiosonde has been recovered and Newcomb is working on recovering the data from the launch.

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