By Patrick Wilson
The Virginian-Pilot© March 30, 2009
Were they meteors? A comet? UFOs?
People from Maryland to Hampton Roads heard loud explosions and saw brilliant, streaking lights in the sky Sunday night.
There was no immediate explanation, the National Weather Service office in Wakefield said. The Virginia Beach 911 center had numerous calls waiting just before 10 p.m., a supervisor said.
The Weather Service said reports were made from Dorchester County, Md., to the Virginia/North Carolina border. People said they saw a streak in the sky and heard an explosion.
“It was orange, like a fireball,” said Steve Wagner, who lives in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake and said what he saw was too close to be a shooting star. Wagner was outside cooking with family when he saw the streak. He said he went inside when his daughter called, then heard an explosion that sounded like thunder.
Chris Wamsley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Wakefield office, said there could be various causes of the explosions and lights. A team of people is looking into what happened, he said.
Lindsey Hosek of the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach was jogging along the water with her dog when the sky lit up, she said.
“The bright light at first terrified me because I thought somebody was shining a light on me, and then I saw it, and I was in complete awe because it was so beautiful,” she said.
Then she saw something that looked like a comet moving low toward the ground; it was blue in front followed by orange and appeared to be the shape and size of a refrigerator.
“It was just so low. It was like where a bird should be,” she said. “It was definitely heading downward.”
She was on the phone with a friend a minute later when she heard an explosion.
Kenneth Martin of Chesapeake’s South Norfolk neighborhood said he saw what appeared to be lightning, then the sky turned blue.
Then, he said, a white ball of fire shot close to the ground and appeared to burn out. He said he’s sure it was a meteor.
“It was so vivid in the sky, blinking,” he said. “It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.”
No damage was reported, the Weather Service said.
Patrick Wilson, (757) 446-2957, email@example.com
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