In a parting shot from Hurricane Sandy, a microburst slammed Wareham with heavy thunderstorms and 90-mile-per-hour winds Tuesday night, the National Weather Service confirmed today.
The weather service dispatched a survey team this morning after reports of strong winds and frequent lightning and thunder, said Bill Simpson, meteorologist with the weather service’s Taunton office.
The microburst pounded the Onset Bay marina and the Swift’s Beach, Pinehurst, and Mayflower Ridge areas of Wareham. It carried 60- to 70 mile-per-hour-winds and pockets of wind gusts up to 90 miles per hour, according to a weather service statement.
The path of the storm was two miles wide and two miles long, the weather service reported.
The microburst was caused by remnants of Sandy, which brought a low-pressure, winter-like system to the area, Simpson said.
The precipitation that the microburst dumped on Onset and Wareham was Sandy’s easternmost rainband, he said.
“It was just a very severe thunderstorm with frequent lightning and extremely strong winds,” said Wareham Fire Captain Matt Rowley
Hurricane Sandy had menaced Wareham, which is at the top of Buzzards Bay, on Monday night. Officials had called for people to voluntarily evacuate low-lying areas.
A microburst is a strong rush of wind downward, which spreads out as it reaches the ground. Microbursts are typically caused by a clash of air masses, affect an area of 1 to 2½ square miles, and last less than five minutes, experts say.
The crew confirmed a microburst by using radar information, analyzing how trees fell, and checking the size of the damaged area.
Straight-line wind gusts from the storm snapped trees and telephone poles, some of which smashed into homes, Rowley said. The severe weather knocked out power to about 1,000 homes.
“It was pretty much held to those areas,” Rowley said. “It was a short duration.”
Firefighters responded to areas hit by the microburst and utility crews are on scene now, trying to restore power, he said.