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k0160 BC-MN-MeteorFalls? 10-03 0349

Flaming ball spotted in Minn., NW Iowa sky

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Residents from the Twin Cities to the southwestern corner of Minnesota and into Iowa reported seeing a flaming object shooting through the sky Wednesday, and experts said they may have been watching a meteor.

Shortly after 2 p.m., people across the Twin Cities reported seeing a "metallic" object or "flaming ball" falling from the sky, according to broadcasters and emergency dispatchers who got hundreds of calls from people in Edina, Maple Grove and other suburbs. The callers said they saw the object traveling from the northeast to the southwest.

Meanwhile, residents in Lyon County in far southwestern Minnesota reported hearing a loud boom Wednesday.

"Oh man. To me it was like being on a (Navy) carrier … when they break the sound barrier with an F14," Navy reservist Greg Devereaux, who lives near Amiret, told the Marshall Independent. "It sounded like a sonic boom from an F14 maybe 300 yards away. That’s what it felt like. It shook the house and when I walked outside the ground was still shaking."

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Mike Fuhs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, S.D., said several residents reported sightings of fireballs in the sky in northwestern Iowa, especially near Sioux City.

As of 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration hadn’t received reports of anything falling from airplanes in the area. That led to speculation that the object was a meteor that had burned up in the atmosphere.

Ken Murphy, a physics professor at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall and director of the school’s planetarium, said a chunk of a meteor called a bolide can make a noise that sounds like thunder.

"That’s just a possibility of what this thing is," Murphy said. Murphy said his wife Sandy heard a thunder-type sound both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

Lyon County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mark Mather said deputies investigated near Amiret but found no evidence of an explosion.

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