BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — Imagine starting your morning with a parachute and a deflated balloon landing in your driveway.
That’s what happened to Burrillville resident Robert Guillemette on Wednesday as he was leaving his home.
“I was exiting the house, ready to run errands, and I heard this crash in my driveway,” he said. “At first, I thought that my neighbors were playing a prank on me.”
But Guillemette quickly learned it was a something called a radiosonde. A radiosonde is an instrument launched twice a day at designated locations across the country to record weather data from the ground up.
The device that hit Robert Guilmette’s driveway came from Albany, New York. It was launched at 7 a.m. and made it to Burrillville by 9:45 a.m.
There was no damage, although Guillemette said the rope attaching the radiosonde to the balloon and parachute did get tangled on the corner of his garage roof.
While not familiar with weather balloons, Guillemette read up on them after one appeared on his property. He said he has learned about how they are used to record critical atmospheric data and also how to return them.
“They recommend that the finder return it in a postage paid envelope, which is wrapped up, all tucked in together, and then sent back to them,” he said.
The National Weather Service in Albany said it’s not that common to have the balloons returned, but they are not cheap, so they are more than happy to get them back.
Guillemette plans to mail it back soon.