The sonic boom that shook the Brainerd lakes area Friday night was likely a meteor, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Reports of flashes of light and building-shaking booms started flowing in between 9:30-10:30 p.m. Friday.
There hasn’t been any official confirmation that the event was from a meteor, said Kevin Kraujalis, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. But the reported sightings describe what a meteor would look like, and there were reports of meteor sightings the night before in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.
“There’s no other explanation,” Kraujalis said.
That official confirmation might never come, Kraujalis said. If the meteor wasn’t completely burned up in the atmosphere and a piece did land somewhere, that rock might never be found, especially in a place like northern Minnesota where it’s not that densely populated.
If a meteorite were to be found, it would look like a hardened lava formation with different colors.
There’s no word yet on just how far this likely meteor stretched or how many pieces there were, Kraujalis said.
Melissa Hanson and her husband were driving on Highway 25 when a bright turquoise blue light flashed across the sky, lasting about four seconds.
“I had to ask my husband to slap me because I could not believe what I had just seen,” she said.
“All I know now is you couldn’t miss it if you were outside at the time.”
In East Gull Lake, Jennie Kavanaugh and her husband were in bed with the drapes pulled when the flash lit up the inside of the house. A few seconds later, there was a boom.
“We thought it must have been someone setting off fireworks,” she said. “We didn’t hear or see anything after that but it was crazy.”
Daniel Shire said he thought something in Brainerd blew up after his house on McKay Road shook and he noticed an orange sky.
“We hopped in our car to see what it was, but found nothing in Brainerd,” he said.
Near Gilbert Lake, the exploding boom rattled the windows and shook the house of Erin Forstner. She called the police, along with many other area residents.
Kraujalis said such a meteor is a special event for northern Minnesota. No similar events have been reported for the area in recent years. But there’s nothing to worry about, Kraujalis said.
“It’s nothing apocalyptic,” he said.
The sonic boom happens when an object is traveling faster than the speed of sound, or 761 mph.