Wednesday Night's Meteor

If you happened to be awake shortly after 10pm on Wednesday night, you may have assumed that you saw a distant lightning flash and the roar of thunder shortly thereafter. While there were some thunderstorms along the Mississippi River in Wabasha and Buffalo counties, this flash and roar was reported to be due to a meteor entering the earth’s atmosphere. A web cam facing west from the NWS La Crosse out toward the city of La Crosse was able to catch the flash that occured, but not the actual meteor.  Here are two images from this web cam, one from before the flash and the second at its brightest point about 8 seconds later (note that the time is off by approximately 10 minutes):

Web cam from the NWS La Crosse aiming west before the flash

Web cam from NWS La Crosse facing west during brightest part of flash

The Doppler radar from the National Weather Service in La Crosse was able to observe this entry across southwest Wisconsin in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties. Shown below are a few images from the lowest radar slices (0.5 and 0.9 degrees) of reflectivity and velocity picking up on the entry between 6,000 and 12,000 feet.

 NWS La Crosse Reflectivity-0.5 degrees

 -Zoomed in 0.5 degree reflectivity image from the NWS La Crosse radar at 1010 pm at about 6,000 ft above ground level

NWS La Crosse Radar Image-Storm Relative Velocity 0.5 Degrees

-Storm Relative Motion from 1010pm off of the NWS La Crosse radar picking up on some movement, likely from the meteor, along the Grant county/Iowa county line.

NWS La Crosse Radar-SRM 0.9 degrees

-0.9 degree reflectivity from 1010 pm off of the NWS La Crosse radar at about 10,000 feet above ground level

NWS La Crosse Radar-Reflectivity 0.9 degrees


  -0.9 degree Storm Relative motion from the NWS La Crosse radar at 1010 pm


NWS La Crosse Radar-Spectrum Width via GR2Analyst

-Spectrum Width image from 1010 pm off of the NWS La Crosse radar using GR2Analyst. Spectrum width normally is used to estimate turbulence associated with boundaries/fronts, thunderstorms, and mesocyclones. 

Here are a few links to our neighboring NWS offices write ups on this story including web cam images from UW-Madison and dash cam footage from a Sheriff in Howard county, IA.

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