Fireball Above Milwaukee – More Meteors Expected

***Watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm for the latest weather updates!***

If you saw the fireball above Milwaukee last night, you may have just experienced a once in a lifetime event!  The meteor that lit up the night sky in the Midwest was seen by many shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The spectacular sight was captured by our Discovery World camera, which was pointed back toward Downtown Milwaukee.  In this picture the meteor is moving from the northeast to the southwest.  This is awesome video!

Another piece of video that I found came from a police car dashcam.  This shot of the meteor comes from eastern Iowa.  It plays the clip of the meteor twice.

If you have pictures or video of the meteor from last evening please let us know.  We would love to see it!  Just email me your pictures or video at

Just after the fireball raced by, our tv station received numerous calls and emails wondering if we knew what just occurred.  Not only did our station take calls, but so did local 911 dispatchers, and also the National Weather Service.  Below is the ‘official’ statement that the NWS issued in regards to this likely meteor.

UPDATED Thursday, April 15, 2010  3:45 a.m.

Update from the National Weather Service:
Possible Meteor Visible Across Southern Wisconsin

Many reports of a bright fireball have been flooding county sheriff dispatch centers across the southern half of Wisconsin tonight.  The fireball was visible between 10:00 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.

National Weather Service Offices in La Crosse, Davenport, and Des Moines Iowa, as well as St. Louis and Kansas City Missouri, have received numerous reports of a fireball from law enforcement officials and the public around the same time as the reports in our county warning area (the Madison area).

While no official determination has been made of what caused the fireball, space debris, meteor, etc — there is a meteor shower currently occurring called the Gamma Virginids. It began April 4th and is expected to last through April 21rst with the peak activity April 14th and 15th. A large meteorite could have caused the brilliant fireball that has been reported.


Here is one email that Weather Watch 12 received today…did the meteor land in Southwest Wisconsin?

My Husband is Turkey hunting in Richland Center, WI. He called last night about the fire ball in the sky, he said that it sounded like an explosion and it shook the ground. It was one of the coolest things he ever saw.


As mentioned above, the likely cause of the meteor last evening was the Gamma Virginids meteor shower.  This is a ‘minor’ meteor shower with only about 5 meteors visible per hour during its peak.  The peak this year falls on April 14 and 15.  Even though this is viewed as a ‘minor’ meteor shower, all it really takes is one large meteor to streak across the sky to make it memorable.  And that is what occurred last night in the Midwest! 

With cloudy skies tonight, viewing will likely be poor to view any meteors that may still be present with the Gamma Virginids.  But don’t worry, the Lyrids meteor shower is just around the corner.  Here are the details if you are interested in viewing.

  • Peak April 21-22
  • 10-15 meteors possible per hour during peak
  • Active/visible April 16-25

If you plan on viewing any of the meteor showers this month just remember, a large meteor that produces a fireball like the one on Wednesday is rare. 

Make sure to watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm for more information on the meteor and additional video.  Please leave your thoughts and questions in our interactive comments section of the blog.  To read more about others experience with the meteor last evening stop by our Facebook page WeatherWatch 12

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


4 Responses

  1. Great video Jeremy, you did good catching this.

    • Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good:)


  2. Jeremy,

    Your new (and my favorite) Discovery World camera has become famous! Many news outlets in the state and the nation has used your video. Just saw it on WGN Chicago. Very cool!

    • Bryan, I know I’m biased, but of all the video I’ve seen of the meteor it is the best. I’ll try to dig up some more good video for Friday’s blog. I know NASA has also taken an interest in our video.


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