Mystery Cloud Spotted on Radar Over New Mexico and West Texas

Published 03/19 2014 06:11PM

Updated 03/19 2014 10:24PM

By Michaela MacDonald

LUBBOCK, TX -- A mystery cloud detected on radar over New Mexico is stirring up some concerns and even conspiracy theories.

The National Weather Service Lubbock says it could be a number of different things.That radar indication seemed to start near White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico so it could have been a test out there.

"When it comes from an army, a missile range where they are sometimes conducting some top secret activities a lot of times we don't know what it is," said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jody James, "Sometimes what they are doing is secret or maybe advanced weapons systems but we can usually rule out weather that's the area we are experts in."

Another theory making its way around the internet is that the cloud is something nuclear because it appears to have started near the Trinity Site, where the first atomic bomb was tested.  But Environmental Radiation expert Dr. Ron Chesser says that is highly unlikely.

"To tell you the truth if this cloud was containing significant amount of radioactive material we would have been alerted by any number of monitoring groups by now," said Chesser. "Radiation in and of itself is not going to  give a radar signal. These types of particles that you are seeing are probably either metallic or some kind of dense material that is giving a return but radiation is not necessarily going to do that

James say it also could have been a  "chaff" which is a military maneuver where a plane drops aluminum or plastic to distract the enemy. The weather service is usually not told about those drills.

"I cant remember very many times where we've known about even just a small chaff release, that is part of their operations and there's usually no public notice or press release on that so. We sometimes get surprised with what we see on radar just as much as you do," he said.

We also spoke with White Sands Missile Range and they say they've been looking into the cloud. A spokesperson said it wasn't army-related per se, but still could have something to do with another branch of the military. They hope to know more tomorrow.

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