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Big booms give a scare but Obama arrives safely in Madrona – UPDATE

Despite a set of loud booms that rattled Puget Sound just after 1:30 PM, President Barack Obama’s motorcade ventured on and delivered the president to the shores of Lake Washington Tuesday afternoon. With no official announcement of the motorcade route, we ventured off Hill to the intersection of McGilvra and Lake Washington Blvd that was most likely to afford a view of the presidential entourage as it arrived in Madrona for an exclusive luncheon.

The booms were confirmed to have been caused by military aircraft scrambled because of a breach of the airspace above Seattle while the president traveled below:

A pair of loud sonic booms heard around the Seattle area shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday were caused by two F-16 jets, according to Allen Kenitzer, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Via Facebook, NORAD released the following statement:

SONIC BOOMS over Seattle: NORAD responded to an aircraft violating a VIP Temporary Flight Restricted Area near Seattle at approximately 1:35 PDT. F15s from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard in Portland, were scrambled to intercept the aircraft. The aircraft departed the TFR prior to intercept but in the… process of intercepting the aircraft, the F15s went super-sonic near the Seattle Area.

As we had reported earlier, East Precinct police forces played a big part in today’s security as the president traveled from the Westin to the luncheon with donors at the home of tech exec Rob Glaser. When the booms rattled through the leafy streets of this usually quiet portion of the city, the officers at the scene remained calm and there was only a minor uptick in activity around the mobile command unit set up not far from the intersection.

A small crowd of approximately 30 people waited for the president and waved and cheered as he and a stream of secret service and motorcycle police rushed by at high speed. Obama’s wave and smile were only a blur that left many on the street asking excitedly, “Was that him?”

UPDATE 4:10 PM: The president’s route took him around Capitol Hill — not over it but  ShaunathanHurd did capture this shot of the motorcade traveling up Olive Way for the I-5 on-ramp:

We also took a look back through the Twitter archives at some Tweets from the first minutes after the big booms. In approximate chronological order:

markct: @jseattle just heard/felt two very loud bangs on CH. Any idea what that was?
about 2 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac · Reply · View Tweet
daavey: @jseattle sonic boom just now??
about 2 hours ago via web · Reply · View Tweet
RealtySeattle: My various news feeds says the boom was heard S King County – I heard it on Cap Hill. Seems to have been heard over a wide area.
about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet
dogsonthehill: I’m not a fan of giant ‘booms’. Felt on Capitol Hill. RT @wallyhood: We felt the boom in Wallingford, as they did in W. Sea and Pioneer Squ
about 2 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® · Reply · View Tweet
kevinpurcell: @jseattle Loud bangs heard on Cap Hill too. They moved the blinds here just off Broadway. Quite a large overpressure.
georgeharker: @jseattle scanner says it’s two F-15’s breaking sound barrier over lake washington.
about 2 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac · Reply · View Tweet
alaskalainen: Heard in Cap Hill too… RT @emmettoconnell: Two big booms out in Lacey near Martin Way & Carpenter. What was that?
about 2 hours ago via HootSuite · Reply · View Tweet

Here’s a Capitol Hill-related mystery to ponder. Molly Moon’s ice cream truck came and went two or three times near Glaser’s Madrona home. It also stopped one time near the SPD mobile command before leaving the neighborhood for the last time. I assume, even though the truck was long gone by the time he arrived, the president ate some delicious ice cream. But can anybody confirm?

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5 thoughts on “Big booms give a scare but Obama arrives safely in Madrona – UPDATE

  1. ..while I was at Ikea with some friends who are newly transplanted to Seattle. Ikea employees immediately scrambled to try and find out what created the loud bangs to put some customers at ease.

  2. Hello All,
    I too heard the boom and physically felt the shock way. I was totally puzzled with it. I live in Olympia, WA so it did travel a bit from the original source. I found out last night what is was which was a relief. Anything is earth or air shattering I immediately hit the ground having been through many earth quakes here in Washington State. I am relieved that no catastrophe happened. :-)