NORAD shows Santa coming soon

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Santa to begin flight from North Pole in less than one day.

“Elf Soen Firr, chief Santa suit engineer, confirmed that Santa’s red suit has been weatherproofed and tested to ensure Santa will stay warm and dry in any type of weather,” according to a press release from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. “No further details of the suit’s material or capabilities were released.”

NORAD tracks Santa’s flight across the world each year.

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Santa’s final weeks of preparation have been busy though, with at least one high-profile visitor dropping in for an unexpected visit.

CNN is reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stopped in to see the big guy last week.

CNN reports: “On the way to her home in New York from Washington, Assistant Secretary PJ Crowley told reporters Clinton stopped at the North Pole ‘for an important bilateral meeting with a well-known international figure.’”

Unnamed sources confirmed that Clinton was, in fact meeting with Santa.

And a TV station in Charleston, W.V., is reporting that Santa made a special trip to town to shovel sidewalks filled with snow.

So it’s true, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he’s on his way.

At no other time of year do national and local media organizations, governmental agencies and parents change their focus as much as they will this week.

NORAD, for example, is an organization jointly funded by the United States and Canada that focuses year-round on protecting the countries from air attacks.

But for a few weeks in December, NORAD takes on a new job description — Santa tracker.

Their Web site is holiday themed and kid-friendly. Santa’s village offers online games for kids to make the ever-so-long days before Christmas pass more quickly.

The agency began tracking Santa more than 50 years ago, as a result of an accident.

The NORAD Web site explains that a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement incorrectly printed the phone number for children to call Santa. The number led them to the defense command post.

NORAD, then Continental Air Defense Command, rolled with it and used their radar to track Santa and offer updates to the children who called.

Now, TV stations frequently use NORAD’s Santa track in their Christmas Eve broadcasts.

And parents are frantically hoping that the Zhu Zhu Pet they pre-ordered at Walmart will arrive in time, just in case Santa is all out too, of course.

It all comes to a head in only a few hours (check NORAD’s Web site for the countdown clock).

NORAD says Santa will start his route at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean and travel west.

He’ll visit Australia, Japan, Russia, Africa, England and Canada before he comes to the United States.

Once here, he’ll hit New York, Atlanta and all of Alabama before coming to Natchez.

That is of course, if he stays on route. NORAD reports that weather and awake children may change his route at any time.

Other interesting facts from NORAD tell us that Santa is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 260 pounds — before cookies.

NORAD pilots tracking Santa frequently receive a return wave from him. Don’t believe me? Ask them yourselves. Call 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or e-mail anytime Thursday for an update on his location.

Merry Christmas!

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or