Many area residents reported a possible meteor flying across the sky over southern Wisconsin on Wednesday night.
Authorities were flooded with curious callers after a meteor streaking across the Midwestern sky looked like a huge fireball. National Weather Service offices in La Crosse, Wis., Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Mo., received numerous reports of the fireball from law enforcement officials and the public.
The flash of light in the sky was reported just after 10 p.m. People from Iowa to Ohio have apparently reported seeing a fireball.
Witnesses reported seeing all sorts of colors and one big blast followed by several smaller blasts.
Forecasters said that a meteor shower called Gamma Virginids began April 4 and is expected to last to April 21 with peak activity Wednesday and Thursday, but they couldn't immediately confirm if Wednesday night's incident was part of that shower.
While there's been no official confirmation of what the alleged object was or the nature of the incident, some witnesses in southern Wisconsin were sharing what they saw and felt on Wednesday night.
Jeff Boyle said he was on his way home from work in Waukesha when he saw a ball in the sky with a huge tail that was as bright as the sun.
Janesville resident Valon Pajaziti said he was returning from a friend's house to his home when he saw what he described as "the most amazing thing I have ever seen" just after 10 p.m.
"As I was parking my car and I got out of the car, I saw this big lightning falling down. I had my phone in my hand and I wanted to record it, but I was too focused and amazed by what was happening that I never got to recording it. I thought I took a few pictures, but I guess I only took one," said Pajaziti, who is originally from Kosovo.
Another resident, Luis Gaytan Tovar, also captured a photo of the incident through his car windshield as it passed overhead from north to south. His friend, Scott Mickelson, said the photo was taken just as the alleged object was breaking into multiple pieces.
Desiree Dailey, of Richland Center, said she spotted the object while standing on the corner of East Haseltine and South Sheldon Streets.
"It was really low. It was just a huge flame. It was really bright. I didn't know what it was. I thought it was a meteor," said Dailey.
Erik and Jenyl Nerenz said they were heading southbound on Interstate 39 when the sky suddenly lite up to the west at around 10:15 p.m.
"We saw an extremely bright light streak across the sky directly in front of us over the interstate. We watched the light burn out and split into what looked to be a few pieces and looked to be a 100 yards in front of us," said Jenyl Nerenz. "Whatever it was, was definantly on fire. It appeared to be heading toward the power plant in Portage. We traveled out to the area that we thought it had fallen in. We saw nothing, but noticed heavy animal traffic in that area."
Other south-central Wisconsin residents reported feeling a shaking sensation.
"I don't know for sure, but it sure felt like an earthquake here in Lancaster (in Grant County)," said Carol Burton. "It couldn't be thunder as the stars are shining. No emergency trucks or anything going on. It shook the whole house and rattled the windows."
Dodgeville's Denny Marklein also described what he thought could be a meteor
"I observed what appeared to be the moon coming through an overcast sky. The light, which appeared far away, continued to get brighter as it approached from the west to the east. Out of the light appeared two large round very bright, fiery fireballs moving west to east. They had fairly long dazzling tails and appeared to be comet-like. They passed over my head and burned out," said Marklein.
Mark Jung called the sight "spectacular."
"I saw a very large fast moving object breaking up in the western sky near Lake Waubesa at 10:07 p.m. It looked like a meteor, but bigger than any I have ever seen before," said Jung.