Mysterious shake rattles NC coast

Graphic of sonic boom off N.C. coast (WECT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Did you feel a bit of a shake Friday afternoon? You’re not alone.

WECT received several emails and messages on social media about a possible tremor in the Myrtle Grove area, as well as in Leland.

However, the United States Geological Survey’s website showed no earthquake activity in North Carolina.

Our First Alert meteorologists did manage to see what appears to be remnants of a sonic boom wave on radar just off the coast of the Cape Fear region.

Steven Pfaff with NOAA released the following statement regarding the shake:

I’ve attached a radar loop which shows chaff from military aircraft off the Cape Fear coast. The chaff is dropped from aircraft doing maneuvers and is often detected on weather surveillance radar since the chaff (little strips of aluminum) behaves like rainfall. Usually the radar signature for chaff becomes oriented into thin lines as the individual pieces are carried downwind of where they were released.

Thus the radar indicates there were military aircraft operating off the coast and some of these aircraft are likely able to break the sound barrier creating the sonic boom sensation that was felt by many across Southeast NC today.

So, whether it was a sonic boom from military aircraft or an infamous seneca gun is anybody’s guess.

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