Low-flying helicopters spotted in the region as preparations for Inauguration Day are underway


FILE – In this May 22, 2020, file photo, a raindrop falls from an American flag at half-staff at the Washington Monument, in Washington. President Donald Trump ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff for a three day period in remembrance of Americans who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Preparations for next January’s Inauguration Day are already underway, and the federal government has sent helicopters out to surveil Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas for background radiation.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration is conducting low-altitude helicopter flights and measuring naturally occurring background radiation as part of its standard preparations. They’re doing these flights in D.C. and surrounding areas.

WDVM viewers wrote in asking about low-flying helicopters over a Silver Spring neighborhood on Monday.

The helicopters will fly in a grid pattern over the area, at altitudes as low as 150 feet at about 80 mph, DOE/NNSA says.

The department says this is a normal part of emergency and security preparations, adding that the monitoring is “purely scientific in nature and no surveillance or other form of monitoring will happen during the flights.”

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