Kansas City has been waiting a long time for this.
Last year, the Royals ended the longest playoff drought in professional sports—29 years—and this year they turned thrilling come-from-behind victories into an art form. On Sunday night, as the team clinched its first World Series title since 1985, the entire Kansas City area erupted in unison with such energy that the celebration was detectable on weather radar. Watch:
As a lifelong Kansas City Royals fan (seriously, my childhood bathroom was sponge-painted blue and gold) and weather nerd, this is just too perfect.
Occasionally, when it’s not raining, weather radar can pick up some interesting things. Last year, for example, I wrote about an enormous mayfly hatch showing up on weather radar along the upper Mississippi River in Wisconsin. In places like Texas and California, smoke from wildfires also routinely shows up on radar. These special views are possible when radars switch to what’s called “clear air mode”: the tracking beam slows down, enabling the radar to become thousands of times more sensitive and allowing particles as small as soot to become detectable.
Interestingly, the very same Kansas City radar that picked up Sunday night’s glee also captured a pretty impressive wave of fireworks-related smoke on the Fourth of July in 2013:
Since the smoke plume from a fireworks explosion is really, really small compared with a forest fire, it usually takes a lot of people setting off fireworks at the same time for them to show up. New Year’s Eve in New York City, that sort of thing. Or, your favorite baseball team winning the World Series for the first time in a generation. That’ll do it too.