Maxwell AFB: Training didn't cause loud 'boom' heard across NE J - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Maxwell AFB: Training didn't cause loud 'boom' heard across NE Jefferson, St. Clair, Blount counties

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Maxwell Air Force base says the loud boom rattled windows and shook houses shortly before 2 p.m. wasn't caused by anything at the facility. 

The intense sound has been reported by residents in Cullman, Walker, St. Clair, Jefferson, Calhoun and Blount Counties.

At this point, we have not located a definite source of the sound. Since the sound was heard over such a broad area, it is likely associated with a sonic boom. This happens when an object, like an aircraft or meteor, exceeds the speed of sound.

Depending on the temperature, the speed of sound is usually around 700 mph.

In the past, these sounds have often been associated with a meteoroid entering the Earth's atmosphere. These objects can be traveling at between 25,000 and 160,000 mph when they first enter the atmosphere. The meteoroids quickly lose speed because of the atmospheric drag, but not before it results in a ground-shaking sonic boom.

The boom has nothing to do with training at Maxwell, according to Micheal Ritz, There is no exercise the facility would conduct to cause a boom that could be heard from Montgomery to Birmingham. No one in the Montgomery called saying they heard the noise, he said. 

These sounds are often associated with a fireball that is easily visible at night.

While a military aircraft exceeding the speed of sound is possible, it is not likely.

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