Winter weather won’t slow down Santa Claus on Christmas evening when the jolly old man transports toys and goodies to children.
Santa and his reindeer are expected to see a safe trip with the help of high-tech support while meteorologists and the government track his path around the world.
According to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, the 56-year-old tradition of tracking Santa’s travels will continue this year.
For meteorologists like CBS 6 reporter Chris Gloninger, updating folks on Santa’s status has become a tradition.
“For every station I’ve been at, they’ve tracked Santa,” Gloninger said.
NORAD does the official tracking, and TV stations point folks to www.noradsanta.org.
Gloninger said a good track on Old Saint Nick’s travels will help children get to bed before he arrives.
“For a lot of children, there’s always anxiety, a good anxiety on Christmas Eve, and I think that tracking relieves that a bit for them,” Gloninger said.
The Federal Aviation Administration last year announced that Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer got some new, satellite-based equipment that will help NORAD track Santa’s sleigh.
The FAA also reported that Santa’s sleigh has a newer display so they can travel safely in the sky without worrying about airplanes or bad weather.
The sleigh is also fitted with advanced safety gear that will make it easier for all of the reindeer to land on roofs even if they are slippery with ice and snow.
Improvements to Santa’s gear also mean that the reindeer will be saving money — quicker, more-precise directions through GPS means the reindeer will be eating less hay, reducing the greenhouse gasses produced when farmers make hay, according to the FAA.
Santa has special permission from the FAA to fly short- and long-range flights, and he’ll be traveling safely because Mrs. Claus will make sure he gets plenty of rest before heading out to deliver toys to good girls and boys.
According to NORAD, tracking Santa first began in 1955 when the military agency, which monitors the skies for bad airplanes so Americans stay safe, got a phone call from children wondering if the plane-tracking agency could find where Santa was.
Col. Harry Shoup was on duty that night and agreed to check on Santa’s status and let the kids know he was traveling safely.
As part of the job, NORAD gathers thousands of volunteers to monitor telephones and computers and answer phone calls and emails from kids hoping to learn if they can stay up a little while longer or if they should get to bed because Santa’s close.
Last year, NORAD’s Santa tracker saw more than 15 million people from about 227 countries check on Santa’s position on Christmas Eve.
Earlier this year, NORAD official Jamie Graybeal issued a news release stating that the military group is proud of its volunteers’ work helping to track Santa Claus.
“We at NORAD are honored to be a part of so many people’s holiday traditions,” Graybeal said.