Did you feel or hear it? Lowcountry residents report ‘big boom’

Twitter user captures sound of boom on doorbell camera
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 10:15 AM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Residents across the Lowcountry say they felt or heard what they call a “big boom” Tuesday morning as Joint Base Charleston continues scheduled explosive operations on the Cooper River.

Twitter user Brandon Walker posted video of a Nest doorbell camera that captured the sound of the boom.

While Joint Base Charleston has not yet responded to a request for comment, the base sent out an alert warning of “explosive operations” at Wharf Alpha on the Cooper River in Goose Creek. Those operations began on Monday and are expected to continue through Sunday.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division said Tuesday morning it has no reports of any earthquakes and they are also working to determine the source of the boom.

The U.S. Geological Survey says some small, shallow earthquakes too small to be recorded can be experienced as booms to people close enough to feel the quake.

Mount Pleasant Police posted on their Twitter account at 8:51 a.m. that they had received reports and that their officers were patrolling.

Residents on Facebook talked about whether they did or didn’t feel it. Reports of the boom came in from downtown Charleston, Mount Pleasant, West Ashley, Daniel Island, Moncks Corner, Folly Beach, James Island, Wadmalaw Island and others.

But some in those same areas said they neither felt nor heard anything.

Big booms are not uncommon in the area thanks to the large military presence.

Residents in Goose Creek reported loud booms back in 2015 that were traced to military ordnance operations at the Naval Weapons Station.

A few months later, a loud boom was caught on camera during a June 15, 2015, news conference in downtown Charleston. As members of the NAACP spoke outside the Charleston County School District, cameras recorded the sound at approximately 11:45 a.m. as a jet flew over the area.

Joint Base Charleston said at that time jets were conducting training in the area, but could not confirm the sound was actually a sonic boom linked to that training.

Just last month, a sonic boom believed to have been caused by a meteor alarmed residents in Indiana. As one Westfield, Indiana resident’s home security system picked up a bright light flying across the sky, the sound followed.

The U.S. Air Force says a sonic boom is an impulsive noise similar to thunder caused by an object moving faster than sound.

“As an aircraft flies at supersonic speeds it is continually generating shock waves, dropping sonic boom along its flight path, similar to someone dropping objects from a moving vehicle,” its website states. “The sound heard on the ground as a ‘sonic boom’ is the sudden onset and release of pressure after the buildup by the shock wave or ‘peak overpressure.’”

Joint Base Charleston has not yet responded to a request for information about the sound.

Did your doorbell camera capture the boom? If so, click here to submit the video to us.