"What was that?" were the words coming out of the mouths of many people on Thursday afternoon when the earth seemed to rumble for a moment in the Storm Lake area.
After some investigation, the answer seems to be that it was a sonic boom from a military jet training exercise.
The Storm Lake Fire and Police Departments were dispatched to the 500 block of East 2nd Street in reference to an explosion where they encountered a large number of people over a three-block area who had come out of their homes after beng shaken by the sudden blast. Others around the city, and in Lakeside and Newell, reported experiencing the quake or a loud boom.
Scores of people scrambled out of their homes, congregating on the sidewalks, joining others, who were curious about the situation.
Josh Demers and Charlie Robbins Jr. were on a hammock at the time of the explosion and said the incident literally shook them up.
Another youngster called the explosion "freaky" and said his portable television fell to the floor and picture frames fell off the walls in his home.
One man drove to the location where police had congregated. "I didn't see anyone running but I did see people coming out of their houses," he said.
A Buena Vista County Deputy in the same area at the time of the explosion reported he had seen a military jet pass over near the time of the loud noise and suggested that the noise may have been caused by the aircraft.
Public safety personnel checked the area and no sign of an explosion was located.
Both the Buena Vista County Communications Center and the Storm Lake Public Safety Department spoke with the Air Guard Unit in Ft. Dodge, which confirmed that unannounced military training was taking place over Storm Lake at the time of the reported explosion.
Military officials reported that a fighter at 31,000 feet went supersonic during the training and that breaking the sound barrier may have caused the incident. The spokesman claimed that the plane was at an acceptable altitude at the time of the incident.
Storm Lake Public Safety was advised that no similar jet training event is planned here in the future.
No structural damage has been reporting from the shaking. The Storm Lake Public Safety Department was assisted during the investigation by the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department.