National Weather Service: ‘Microburst’ Responsible for Damage in Mass.

A microburst is a convective downdraft less than 2.5 miles wide with peak winds lasting less than five minutes. They can cause severe wind damage to property.Trees are seen on the road as workers repaired power lines after a microburst storm went through Methuen, Massachusetts, July 4, 2014.
Trees are seen on the road as workers repair power lines after a microburst storm went through in Methuen, Massachusetts July 4. –Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The National Weather Service confirmed that a microburst and a funnel cloud were a part of a storm that took down trees and power lines in some Massachusetts communities Monday evening.

The microburst hit Bedford at speeds of 90 to 100 miles per hour, NWS officials said, causing wind damage for over 2 miles and knocking down 50-70 trees. Eight landed on homes.

We know what a funnel cloud is.

But what is a microburst?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes a microburst as a “downdraft (sinking air) thunderstorm that is smaller than 2.5 miles.’’ NOAA’s website states that microbursts can cause damage “comparable’’ to tornadoes.

Advertisement’s David Epstein describes microbursts in more detail here.


Although there were funnel clouds spotted in Medford and Malden, NWS officials said that there were no tornadoes reported. Damage was also reported in Woburn and surrounding towns.

According to CBS, NStar and National Grid utility companies reported 600 combined power outages July 8, so residents might have to forgo that shower before work.

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