MADISON (WKOW) – There is still no explanation available for what caused a prolonged, loud, rumbling sound in parts of the 27 News viewing area on Sunday night.
People who reported hearing noise said it occurred at roughly 8:15 p.m. and lasted for one to two minutes.
Those who commented on the WKOW Facebook page Monday speculated the noise might have been caused by thunderstorms, a meteorite, or perhaps a low flying plane.
Steve Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the noise was not caused by weather.
“What we were seeing on the radar, and what I saw on the radar at home, just in my years of experience from looking at it, I knew it didn't contain thunder,” said Davis, who heard the noise at his home in Milton. “We can immediately rule out that it was weather related.”
Davis said he heard the “rumble” while he was sitting on the couch with his family Sunday night.
“It's a bit unsettling that there's no reason for it – no explanation,” Davis said. “Especially given how widespread this was.”
Davis said the NWS received reports of people hearing the loud rumble in northern Illinois, and as far west as Prairie du Chien.
Others reported hearing the noise in Oregon, Janesville, Beloit, Brooklyn, Brodhead and even out towards Mineral Point.
Davis said the NWS typically checks with the U.S. Geological Survey to see if seismic activity was recorded when incidents like Sunday's are reported. He said the USGS website reported no seismic activity in the area.
A spokesperson for the Dane County Regional Airport said there were no, unusual incidents involving planes reported across the region around the time of the noise. A spokesperson for the Wisconsin National Guard said there were no military planes flying in the area either.
“This is going to be, I think, one of those events that will just go unexplained,” Davis said.