MODESTO, Calif. (AP) — A loud crash startled a California family at home Wednesday morning when a chunk of ice the size of a basketball hurtled from the sky and smashed through the roof, likely the result of frozen moisture breaking loose from an airplane flying high overhead.
Monica Savath said she and her family were in the living room of their Modesto home when they were shaken by the commotion. She said it sounded like a bomb exploding. Running to the attached garage, they found a gaping hole in the roof and shattered ice. Nobody was injured.
"What on earth happened?" Savath said in an interview with KOVR-TV.
Jim Mathews, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, dismissed any meteorological explanation, given the area's clear blue skies and hot temperatures. He said an airplane is the most likely culprit. He suspects frozen moisture collected on an airplane and became dislodged.
Pieces of the ice in the Savath home were white or clear, not the blue tint of water used to flush airplane toilets.
Modesto is in the grips of a heatwave with the high temperature hitting 104, which adds to the mystery. Mathews said temperatures high in the jet stream are very cold, and the ice probably fell so quickly that it didn't melt much on its way down.
"Good thing it didn't hit anybody," he said. "Boy, that could really do a number."
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said an inspector visited the family's home. Gregor said he had no immediate answers.
Neighbor Lisa Lawrence said she was outside smoking a cigarette when she heard a whizzing sound and saw an object the size of a basketball.
"Sounded like a jet, actually," she said. "That's what made me look up, and I was like, if that's a jet, it's travelling pretty low."