Well, one of the strangest occurrences of 2023 over North America is apparently back again... maybe... as another large balloon was spotted over the western party of the country. The last time this happened, which was strangely, in February as well, we had our own drama over the Great Lakes with one of them.

So it stands to reason, will Michigan have to deal with giant spy balloons flying over our heads again in 2024?

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High-Altitude Balloon Spotted Over American West Again

Late in the afternoon on Feb. 23rd, the Pentagon actually confirmed that they were tracking another high-altitude object over the western United States, and believed it could be another release from China, much like the alleged spy balloons that flew over the U.S. in 2023.

NORAD released a statement, confirming they were tracking it over Utah, headed toward Colorado, and claimed it did not present any "threat to national security." They also determined that it posed no flight safety issues either.

Upon further investigation, though, NORAD, and the Pentagon determined that Friday's large balloon wasn't a spy balloon, but actually one from a hobbyist. So thankfully, we didn't just miss another Chinese Spy Balloon floating in over our shores again.

But it did remind us of last year's drama, when one of them actually flew over the Great Lakes.

Could High-Altitude Balloons fly over Michigan Again?

They absolutely could, and when the conditions are right, most of the time, the paths of high-altitude balloons would normally come our way.

Most of the balloons we saw in 2023 were following high wind currents, known as the Jet Stream. The hobbyist balloon spotted on Friday was following the same wind currents, but at the moment, the Jet Stream is much further south than normal. Winds carried it across Colorado, and through much of the southern states, finally passing over Georgia Friday night.

Current models show the Jet Stream dipping down into that area, leaving a "dip" over the Great Lakes area, allowing the current pocket of cold air to settle in over us.

Jet Stream Model from early morning, Saturday, Feb. 24th

The Jet Stream is responsible for the majority of weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, and under normal circumstances, settles somewhere right around the Canadian/U.S. border. This means, under normal circumstances, any "spy balloons" released, could likely fly right over us again.

Is there Anything we can Do about it?

Not really, at least not locally. That's pretty much up to our National Defense team.

Thankfully, the balloons we saw in 2023 never got any information to China about the U.S., and two of them were actually shot down - one off the coast of Alaska, and the other off the coast of South Carolina. The one shot down over the Atlantic was recovered for research, while the balloon shot down off the coast of Alaska was never recovered.

US shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon
Getty Images

One other balloon was shot down over Lake Huron last year as well, but it was unclear if that balloon was related to the others, as it didn't share the same shape, or characteristics of the previous sightings.

So hopefully, this doesn't become the norm again, and this hobbyist balloon is just a scare, but I guess anything is possible again. We might just have to start laying out our own messages to the balloons if they start flying overhead again.


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