Loud explosion near Pittsburgh blamed on meteor

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A large explosion rocked Pittsburgh and Allegheny County on New Year’s Day, leaving officials and residents confused about what had just happened.

“Allegheny County 9-1-1 has received reports of a loud boom, shaking in the South Hills and other reports. We have confirmed that there was no seismic activity and no thunder/lightning. At this point, we have no explanation for the reports, but agencies are continuing to look,” County officials said.

It turns out, the boom was a meteor entering earth’s atmosphere.

“The loud explosion heard over SW PA earlier may have been a meteor explosion. This GOES-16 GLM Total Optical Energy product shows a flash that was not associated with lightning. No confirmation, but this is the most likely explanation at this time,” the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said later Saturday night.

The incident happened at 11:26 am and the event was picked up by the GOES-16 lightning mapping satellite.

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