Some weather models bring Chinese balloon over Mississippi

Published 5:00 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

A balloon claimed by China to be a wayward weather research device is making its way across America’s skies, and some National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spaghetti models bring it right over Mississippi towards the Gulf of Mexico.

U. S. officials denied the balloon is simply an innocent device floating at the will of the wind, upping accusations Friday afternoon. The Pentagon and the Secretary of State both expressed concerns that the balloon is actually a spying device used to gather information.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was scheduled to travel to China today for a high-level meeting to help cool the escalating stakes between the two nations.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“In light of China’s unacceptable action, I am postponing my planned travel to China this weekend,” Blinken told the Associated Press.

It was reported by the AP that he told a senior Chinese official that the balloon, the size of two school buses traveling across the entire country, was seen as ““an irresponsible act and that (China’s) decision to take this action on the eve of my visit is detrimental to the substantive discussions that we were prepared to have.”

The U. S. had originally decided against taking actions to remove the balloon due to advice from the Pentagon that debris could be quite dangerous to people on the ground; however, the U. S. military is prepared to do just that if information changes. The AP reported the U. S. prepared fighter jets, including F-22s, to shoot the balloon down upon orders. Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, refused to say on Friday whether there was any new consideration of shooting the balloon down.

In contrast to what Chinese officials said Thursday, Ryder said the balloon can actually be controlled and is not at the mercy of wind currents. That’s why it’s so difficult to pinpoint its next destination.

Should model projections be correct, many of them have the balloon flying directly over northern Mississippi, and several have the balloon traveling across the state from Tupelo to Jackson or Meridian to Brookhaven and Natchez. If the balloon is controlled, there are many targets in Mississippi that would be of interest to China, including military bases scattered across the state such as Columbus, Meridian and the Gulf Coast; a major gasoline storage and pipeline facility in Collins that provides a large percentage of the resource used on the East Coast; and other sites.

Should the balloon fly over Mississippi, the skies will be perfect for people to see. At 60,000 feet, the best view will be with binoculars or telescopes.

If the balloon travels over Mississippi and one is able to get photos or video, please share it with Magnolia State Live by emailing