US: Michelle Obama has surprised children by answering calls to a Santa Claus-tracking hotline, under Norad Tracks Santa programme. She was on the phone for around 40 minutes for NORAD, a US and Canadian military organisation which published online maps tracking the supposed whereabouts of Father Christmas.
NORAD claims every Christmas to be using its radar, satellites, high-speed digital cameras and fighter jets to track the flight-path of Father Christmas and his entourage as they go about their business.
It’s the first time in the 55-year history of the event that a First Lady joined in, said Jamie Graybeal, NORAD’s deputy chief of staff for communications.
Norad Tracks Santa, the official name of the programme, began in 1955 when a Colorado Springs newspaper advertisement invited children to talk to Father Christmas on a hotline. The phone number was misprinted, and dozens of children called the Continental Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, the predecessor to NORAD.
On the other hand, NOAA is also keeping its eyes on cloud cover and helping travellers across the country. The agency has used data from GOES-13 and GOES-11 satellites to create a full image of the continental US on December 23 at 1145 UTC (6:45 a.m. EST).