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'Booms' reported in Clayton, Wendell

Posted September 7, 2008

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— Emergency officials said residents in Johnston and surrounding counties reported hearing loud booms that shook their houses Sunday evening.

Most of the reports came in from Clayton and Wendell, starting around 5:45 p.m. WRAL viewers in Selma and Middlesex also reported similar experiences.

"I was inside on the computer, and all of a sudden, I just heard this big, old boom," Clint Banks, of Clayton, said. "This one lady said that her house shook when it happened. But I heard a lot of it, and it lasted, I'd say, about 15 seconds."

"My mom thought something to us happened, because she was downstairs, but it was just a loud boom," Zulit Callejas, of Clayton, said.

WRAL viewers talk about their experiences of the booming noises.

Emergency crews searched the area for the source of the noise but could not identify what the noise was, said Capt. Buck Pipkin, with the Johnston County Sheriff's Office.

Some residents have speculated that the noise might have been the result of a sonic boom, a term that is commonly used to refer to the shocks caused by the supersonic flight of a military aircraft.

Pipkin said the sheriff's office has called surrounding air bases and airports, and none reported a missing plane.

Officials at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Wayne County said planes are not allowed to produce a sonic boom. All of the base's F-15s completed landing at 4:15 p.m., officials said.

The National Weather Service officials said they did not know of any events – including an earthquake – that would have caused the noise.

67 Comments

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  • luckys313 Sep 8, 2008

    I heard it in Mebane NC along the 84/40 corridor moving from west to east at approximately the same time as everyone else. I thought there was an explosion over at the Petro Truck Stop at first with the multiple booms and the ground shaking. My dog went nuts just before it happened.

  • leo-nc Sep 8, 2008

    "A co-worker heard the boom and saw a single fighter go over. From his description, and subsequently showing him a silhouette, it was an F-18. He saw the jet and heard the noise right after, so it was unlikely a sonic boom, but rather a low, fast fighter approaching trans-sonic."--

    If it was a sonic boom and an F-18, it most likely came from Oceana in Virginia Beach. They fly all the time and RDU is a transition on one of their departure SIDS. They also fly VFR over the area quite a bit, especially when they are going into restricted areas or warning areas.

  • ghimmy51 Sep 8, 2008

    Well ok ... the speed at which a sonic boom is produced will drop with increased air density. It's possible some pilots were just under mach 1 and were surprised by going supersonic momentarily. It happens. I miss hearing them too. I don't miss the broken windows.

  • Mobile Geek Sep 8, 2008

    Large Meteorite?

  • gadgetry Sep 8, 2008

    army retiree - since you brought up the hail cannon twice, I have to wonder if you read the entire story and the attached comments from those that heard it.

    This was heard over a very wide range - at least 20 miles, possibly as many as 40 miles from those that I see - there is no way a single hail cannon could be heard over an area that wide. That is why I contend it had to be a sonic boom - either a single airplane or a group, traveling a long line, creating a series of places where sonic booms could be heard.

  • 050462 Sep 8, 2008

    it was my plane........sorry about that

  • army retiree Sep 8, 2008

    It's a "hail cannon" I tell you. One of those area farmeers has gotten one to protect his crops. See attached.......

    http://www.hailcannon.com/index.html

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/research/2006-12-27-hail-cannon_x.htm

  • Greyhound_Girl Sep 8, 2008

    My house shook, too...Seymour Johnson jets are always flying over my neighborhood...

  • WRALSUCKS Sep 8, 2008

    Someone slamming the door in the John Edwards estate?

  • falcatta Sep 8, 2008

    A co-worker heard the boom and saw a single fighter go over. From his description, and subsequently showing him a silhouette, it was an F-18. He saw the jet and heard the noise right after, so it was unlikely a sonic boom, but rather a low, fast fighter approaching trans-sonic.

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