No, it won’t be thunder: the U.S. Military is warning of an upcoming exercise on Saturday that could be a “high noise” event in New Jersey with loud explosions; the weather will play a role in just how far noise will travel and what it’ll sound like when it arrives. In an update released by the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the exercise is due to happen on Saturday, February 4. Another high-noise event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, February 18-19 later in the month.
During the military exercise being declared a “high noise” event, there will be heavy crew weapons training with cratering munitions. The exercise may include “mortar live fire, howitzer fire, and cratering charges.” Throughout the month of February, there is ongoing small arms and light crew weapons training; on some days, there is also rotary wing aerial gunnery which uses .50 caliber weapons, rocket fire, and rotary cannons. However, throughout the month, the exercises planned for February 4 and February 18-19 are expected to be the loudest.
The weather forecast in the coming days and weeks could also amplify the action coming from the military base. Low clouds moving through the region could make noise travel further. The cloud pattern in the area will also help carry or dissipate different types of noises; as an example, clouds from nearby isolated showers or thunderstorms in Burlington County could help carry the noise into places like Mount Holly, Burlington Township, and Columbus while clear skies at the same time present in Middlesex or Monmouth Counties could allow the noise to dissipate over distance. While clouds help carry noise, temperature variances in the atmosphere are more efficient at impacting acoustics and can also help with the distribution of noise away from its source.
Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst is a U.S. military facility located 18 miles southeast of Trenton, New Jersey. The base is the only tri-service base in the United States Department of Defense and includes units from all six armed forces branches. The facility is a combination of the United States Air Force’s McGuire Air Force Base, the United States Army’s Fort Dix and the United States Navy’s Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst. The bases were merged on October 1, 2009.