BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) — For many years the ‘booms’ have confused people and there are many theories about what causes them in our area. Monday people from different parts of New Hanover and Brunswick counties said they felt and heard the booms.
Amber Brooks said she was at her home in Bolivia when she felt some shaking.
“The dogs kind of went crazy. I heard rumbling coming from the beach and it just grew and grew,” said Brooks. “I want to say it was four or five booms.”
Brooks wasn’t the only one who experienced this. Viewers took to our Facebook page to talk about the booms, writing that they felt and heard them all over the Cape Fear. Some described them as sounding like thunder or explosions and feeling like the earth was shaking or their windows were about to shatter.
Dave Loewenthal, a weather forecaster with the National Weather Service said he thinks he has an explanation.
“This was more than likely a sonic boom from a fighter aircraft that was either over land or dog fighting out in the coastal waters,” said Loewenthal. “Well when they break the sonic barrier, it creates a sonic boom, if that atmospheric conditions are right those booms can travel long distances sometimes 50 to 100 miles.”
He said they even noticed chaff on the radar.
“Chaff is a metal flake that’s ejected from an aircraft,” said Loewenthal.
Mike Barton, public relations director at Cherry Point, said there were no training sessions in the area Monday.
“My initial research into the reports of possible sonic booms in your area today resulted in finding no scheduled operations by the local marine corps squadrons that fly supersonic-capable aircraft,” said Barton.
Barton said he would follow-up with WWAY to see if there were any other military training sessions happening at that time.
Some other theories about what causes booms include meteors, gas trapped beneath the earth’s surface and earthquakes.