BARKSDALE BUBBLE: Explaining the legend of the ‘weather manipulation device’ protecting Barksdale Air Force Base
BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - It’s one of the most talked-about urban legends in northwest Louisiana, a supposed mythical force that pops up to protect Barksdale Air Force Base (BAFB) from the wrath of Mother Nature. Of course, we are talking about the Barksdale Bubble.
While its true origins are somewhat unknown the Barksdale Bubble began to truly enter the ArkLaTex lexicon with the installation of the Doppler Radar at the airport in 1995. With the growth of the internet and eventually social media, the legend of the Bubble continued to grow and grow. People would post a similar image, green all around the downtown Shreveport-Bossier City area, while Barksdale Air Force Base stayed dry.
Many have come forward with their theories of what’s going on with those radar images. Some believe that all the concrete in the downtown region can somehow create a micro-atmosphere preventing impending rain from falling. Others list the radar “cone of silence” meaning the radar can’t see the precipitation falling directly overhead as the reason. Finally, some want to believe that the good men and women at Barksdale Air Force Base have some way to artificially prevent rain and storms from impacting their operations.
So what is really going on? In reality, those circular images of dry weather over the downtown region while rain falls elsewhere are the result of radar limitations. These limitations are that as the radar beam moves away it also travels upward. So the radar can see rain that is falling high in the atmosphere that in reality isn’t actually reaching the ground. This creates a mirage creating what appears to be a circle of rain and storms around the base while it stays dry.
In reality, there is no protective shield over Barksdale or anywhere in the ArkLaTex from severe weather. So as we go through the core of severe weather season during the month of April please prepare for any type of severe weather hazard.
The KSLA First Alert Weather team will keep you updated on the latest severe weather potential. Here’s how you can stay First Alert to the latest forecast details:
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