By Lethbridge Herald on December 22, 2023.
Children around the world will be eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus to arrive in the dark of night for a special Christmas morning.
Santa and his reindeer have a long night ahead of them when they leave the North Pole to land on rooftops everywhere.
And families can track his progress thanks to NORAD’s official Santa Tracker, which can be followed online or via mobile phone apps.
NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is a bilateral Canada/U.S. organization that defends our homelands through aerospace warning and control and maritime warnings for North America.
The aerospace warning includes, says the NORAD website, “the monitoring of man-made objects in space and the detection, validation and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles through mutual support arrangements with other commands.”
Santa has been tracked by the North American defense system since 1955 when the old Continental Air Defense Command began monitoring him and his sleigh.
NORAD took over in 1958 when it replaced CONAD and has been tracking Santa’s progress around the world ever since.
NORAD says its’ the only organization that has the technology, qualifications and the people to track Santa and his sleigh.
Because only Santa knows his exact route, NORAD says it can’t predict when he’ll arrive at anyone’s home. But NORAD says Santa seems to arrive between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight on Dec. 24 and that if kids are still awake, he’ll return to other houses first.
So a note to parents for their children on Christmas Eve – they need to go to bed so Santa can do his job and get home to his own family back at the North Pole.
According to NORAD, his route usually starts at the International Date line in the Pacific West before heading West.
“Historically, Santa visits the South Pacific first, then New Zealand and Australia. After that, he shoots up to Japan, over to Asia, across to Africa, then onto Western Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America,” says NORAD.
“Keep in mind, Santa’s route can be affected by weather, so it’s really unpredictable. NORAD coordinates with Santa’s Elf Launch Staff to confirm his launch time, but from that point on, Santa calls the shots. We just track him!”
NORAD says according to flight profile data, Santa stands about 5 feet seven inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds before cookies. How he fits down chimneys, NORAD can’t definitively say.
To track Santa online from a computer, visit http://www.noradsanta.org