Giant Sinkhole Swallows Vehicles in Meridian, Mississippi

The photo above shows the massive sinkhole that opened up in front of an IHOP restaurant in Meridian, Mississippi, on Nov. 7, 2015. It swallowed 15 vehicles. (Heather Luebbers‎)

(SOURCE)   A massive sinkhole opened up in front of a new IHOP in Meridian, Mississippi, Saturday, startling both diners and employees.

Witnesses reportedly heard a series of booms before the power went out and the sinkhole began to open up, reports WDAM.

The cause of the sinkhole is unknown at this time, but rain in the area may have contributed.

 Meridian has seen above-average rainfall since late October, with just over 10 inches recorded in the 14 days ending Nov. 7,” said meteorologist Chris Dolce. “Saturday was the second wettest day overall in that period with 2.45 inches measured.”

WTOK reports that officials were called out to the scene around 7:17 p.m. and an estimated 15 vehicles were swallowed by the sinkhole.

“We received a call earlier this evening of a sinkhole opening up at the new IHOP restaurant,” Meridian Fire Department Chief Battalion Wayne Cook told WTOK. “Upon arrival, we found multiple vehicles in the ditch. At this time, we are trying to stabilize this and keep everyone away.”

The hole is roughly 50 feet wide and extends from the front of the restaurant to Sowashee Creek, nearly 600 feet away. 

Cook says an investigation will begin Sunday.

No injuries have been reported at this time.