Booming sounds heard caused by cannon fire exercise - CBS 5 - KPHO

Booming sounds heard caused by cannon fire exercise

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BLACKSTONE, VA (WWBT) -

NBC12 received multiple reports from viewers about booms heard across the area Tuesday night.

People in at least five counties, including Chesterfield and Amelia, reported hearing the sounds and even experiencing some vibrations.

NBC12 has learned that Fort Pickett in Blackstone was doing some type of cannon fire exercise. Fort Pickett released a statement, saying, "Certain atmospheric conditions can create situations where sound carries further, and that could be a factor since the range operations being conducted were not anything out of the ordinary."

Fort Pickett officials went on to say the weather may better explain the loud sounds. NBC12 weather experts say normally, the loud sounds would go into the atmosphere and dissipate.

But last Tuesday night, the air was warmer above us, than it was at the surface. It's called a temperature inversion.

If there's a temperature inversion, those sound waves will actually come up to the level of the inversion and instead of going up through the atmosphere, they're blocked," explained meteorologist Rosh Runner. "Ok, so they're refracted is the term that we use. And the refract back down closer to the earth's surface and then they spread out. They can go out for many, many miles, maybe 30-40-50 miles."

Meaning, not only would the sound travel further, it could be louder as well.

Here is the official statement from Fort Pickett: 

"The leadership at Fort Pickett is aware of the concerns expressed by citizens on social media about loud noises attributed to training on the installation.

 Fort Pickett was conducting normal range operations late into the evening on Tuesday might, April 8. Units were firing large caliber weapons systems from armored vehicles, and all firing was conducted in accordance with appropriate Army range operations and safety regulations.

 Certain atmospheric conditions can create situations where sound carries further, and that could be a factor since the range operations being conducted were not anything out of the ordinary.

 Military and public safety organizations from all over the East Coast travel to Fort Pickett to train, and they often conduct maneuver and live fire training 24 hours a day."

Cotton Puryear, 

Va. Army National Guard (Retired)

State Public Affairs Officer

Virginia National Guard

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