Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Weather details for the 15 July 2019 U.S.S. Russell 'drone' event

4 March 2019 UAP photographs

In a previous article, I located weather details for the date/time and location of the 4 March 2019 UAP photograph, taken by a weapon systems officer in a U.S. Navy aircraft. I utilized data available from the Upper Atmospheric Soundings database of the University of Wyoming. 

July 2019 "drone swarm"

Later that year, in July2019, several U.S. Navy Destroyers, reported a number of observations of what they referred to as "drones," off the West coast of the U.S.A. As part of a 23 March 2021 article on The Drive's War Zone blog, authors Adam Kehoe and Marc Cecotti, determined that one of the ships involved, the U.S.S. Russell (DDG-059) had reported numerous observations of "drones" on the evening of 15 July 2019. They secured a copy of the Russell's deck log for the period 14-16 July 2019 via a Freedom of Information Act request.

I wondered what the weather had been like at the location of the U.S.S. Russell on that night? Could obtaining the weather details led to any conclusions about the nature of the objects involved? Marc Cecotti kindly forwarded me a copy of the Russell's deck log. The observations stretched from 2115hrs local time to 2351hrs, with all but one seen between 2115 and 2237hrs. 


I was particularly interested that at 2140hrs the log recorded that a "drone" was sighted at a bearing of 321 degrees T, at a height of 700 feet and a range of 2 nautical miles. A trigonometrical calculation indicates this was a mere 3 degree elevation, above the horizon. 

So, what was the weather like at the location of the Russell, given in the log as 32 degrees 43 minutes latitude North, and longitude 119 degrees 35 minutes West, at 2140hrs 15 July 2019? Given that this is a location at sea off the coast of California, the nearest land based Upper Atmospheric readings station was at San Diego. I considered this to be too far away to be accurate. I therefore turned to the National Data Buoy Center.  This Center is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, and operates a large number of data collecting buoys at sea. 


The nearest weather buoy to the Russell that night was station number 46047, located at latitude 32 degrees 24 minutes North and longitude 119 degrees 30 minutes West, at Tanner Bank, 121 nautical miles West of San Diego. 

The data for 2140hrs on 15 July 2019 is available in the buoy's historical records.


In summary, the relevant weather details from the buoy are that the wind at the time was from 324 degrees (roughly North West); at a speed of 6.3 metres per second (14 milers per hour); atmospheric pressure was 1013.2hPa; air temperature was 15.7 degrees C; and wave height was 1.63 metres. The visibility data is not available. The buoys do not record cloud details. 

As a comparison, I also accessed details from the buoy's records for 2140hrs 14 July 2019, the previous night, when other destroyers, including the U.S. S. Kidd reported multiple 'drone" observations. A summary is as follows. the wind was from 295 degrees; at 5.5 metres per second; the pressure was 1015.7hPa; temperature was 14.8 degrees C; wave height was 1.68 metres. No visibility data available.


Marc Cecotti advised me that from other relevant ships' logs; he noted that it had been foggy at the time. 

Position of "drones"

On the evening of the 15 Jul 2019 with the wind coming from 324 degrees (roughly North West) the Russell's log records the direction of observations as being from 030 degrees ( a single observation) through 252 degrees to 325 degrees (eight observations.) The 2140hrs observation was a bearing of 321 degrees T. The wind was blowing from almost exactly behind this "drone." 

A look at the U.S.S. Rafael Peralta's deck log shows: 2146hrs 15 Jul 2019 2 UAV at a bearing of 310 degrees T; and 2152hrs 4 UAV's bearing 320 degrees T. Again, close to the direction from which the wind was blowing. 

It seems to me, that it would be interesting to examine the bearings of "drone" observations made from all the ships involved; to see what relationship there is between the direction the wind was blowing; and the direction of observation of "drones."

In closing, I would like again to thank Marc Cecotti for sharing the Russell's deck log. It is this sharing of raw data, without withholding dates/times etc, which allows others to build on someone else's work. A most important aspect of networking. We are all in this together. 

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