For many, the Super Bowl came and went. But for the multitude who witnessed their team win its, the celebrations all around Kansas City could be detected by radar.
A tweet from the National Weather Service of Kansas City, which quickly went viral with over 3.2k retweets, shows Kansas City roaring in celebration after the win of their beloved Chiefs.
I talked with , Warning Coordination Meteorologist for , who explained the system.
Radar "works by transmitting a very short pulse of high power, microwave energy. After this transmission, it goes into a listening mode, waiting for the energy to go out, hit something, and be returned to the radar."
"While the pulses transmitted are several hundred thousand watts the amount returned to the radar is much smaller, just a fraction of one watt."
So what did the radar actually pick up? Bailey said the radar picked up "an increase in returned energy to the radar immediately after the Chief's victory."
Because of the type of radar used (called a ), the National Weather Service was also able to pick up shapes: "We can't see individual things like a single bird, plane, or raindrop, but we can see the predominant type of particles in a given volume of the atmosphere."
"Using this dual-pol technology, we could tell it wasn't precipitation, or biological (birds). The only other logical thing it could have been was fireworks debris given that no matter where in the city you were at the conclusion of the game, you were within earshot of exploding fireworks."
While radar works by sending out which then reflect back to the radar when it hits , this specialized dual-pol radar is much more accurate because it creates a - both horizontal and vertical.
According to Bailey, this is the same tech that helps save lives: "Incidentally, this is the same technique we use to look for tornadic debris during severe weather episodes."
After the EF4 tornadoes that last year, the public's trust in the National Weather Service saved lives, "our social media messages were seen around 5 million times on facebook and twitter during and immediately after that tornado event. Most importantly, people heeded our warnings and nobody was killed"
So while you were celebrating (or still celebrating, we don't judge!), the National Weather Service is keeping you safe. In fact, for meteorologist Andy Bailey, the whole purpose of sharing the tweet boils down to trust: "In our business, trust saves lives. So when the entire city is electric and celebrating a Chiefs Super Bowl victory, and we can sense that on radar, we're going to communicate that."