Soaring meteor lights up skies across the Midwest

This black and white photo from a rooftop webcam released Thursday by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences shows a fireball as it passed over Madison, Wis., Wednesday night. / AP Photo/University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

MILWAUKEE (AP) " A large meteor streaked across the Midwestern sky momentarily turning night into day, rattling houses and causing trees and the ground to shake, authorities said Thursday. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Witnesses say the meteor lit up the sky Wednesday about 10:10 p.m. National Weather Service offices across the Midwest say it was visible from southwestern Wisconsin and northern Iowa to central Missouri.

Radar information suggests the meteor landed in the southwest corner of Wisconsin, either Grant or Lafayette counties, said Ashley Sears, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Milwaukee office. Officials in both counties said no one has reported seeing a meteor or crater.

Lafayette County Sheriff Scott Pedley said his office received multiple reports of a very bright light in the sky followed by houses and the ground shaking.

"There were reports of four to five minutes of explosions or rumbling," he said. He couldn't say what the sound was but speculated it may have been a sonic boom if the meteor broke the sound barrier.

Sean Thompson was watching television in his Iowa City, Iowa, apartment when a bright light caught his eye. He saw the meteor for about 10 seconds before it disappeared.

"It was somewhat alarming to me," Thompson said. "I've seen shooting stars, but I've never seen something jetting across the sky with flames shooting off it."

Forecasters say the meteor was part of a meteor shower called Gamma Virginids, which began April 4. The shower is expected to last through April 21, with Thursday set to be the second straight day of peak activity.


Associated Press Writer Molly Hottle in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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