Sonic boom likely generated yesterday’s shaking at the Jersey Shore

    The rattle that was felt along the Jersey Shore coastline around 4:30 p.m. yesterday was likely generated by a sonic boom, according to published reports.

    Naval Air Station Patuxent River spokesman Patrick Gordon told The Press of Atlantic City that the installation had a jet cleared to “go supersonic” off the South Jersey coast.

    It left the Maryland base at 3 p.m. to conduct training exercises before returning shortly after 4:30 p.m., the report said. But the spokesman couldn’t confirm if the aircraft actually hit supersonic speeds.

    NJ 101.5 reported that the likely culprit was an F-35, which is capable of reaching supersonic speeds and generating sonic booms. 

    A sonic boom is “the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion,” according to wikipedia.org.

    It’s the second confirmed sonic boom widely felt in less than a year. In late January, residents from the southern Jersey Shore to Long Island, New York felt the sensation. 

    At the time, USAF Defense Press Officer Lt. Col. Tom Crosson said the F-35C jet was training offshore from the Delmarva Peninsula when the sonic booms occurred. 

    “Test aircraft from the naval air station execute supersonic flights almost daily in the test track, and most of these sonic booms are never felt on land. However, under certain atmospheric conditions there is an increased potential to hear the sound,” he said. 

    Yesterday’s incident, while not felt as widespread, still generated a flurry of social media activity at the Jersey Shore.

    Commenters on the Jersey Shore Hurricane News (JSHN) Facebook page spanned the entire coastline. 

    Noreen Cuono, who lives along the bay in Tuckerton Beach, said her “whole house shook; door and windows rattled,” adding that she went outside and “heard loud rumbling.”

    In Lacey, Monica Vaughan said her pet also seemed to feel something.

    “My dog and I kind of looked at each other like, ‘What the heck is going on?'” she said. 

    Justin Auciello, who produces the Down the Shore blog for WHYY/NewsWorks, is also the founder and publisher of JSHN. 

     

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