What is a microburst?

PHOTO Courtesy of Larry Fischer

[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=1&div_id=videoplayer-1371649621&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9622&show_title=1&va_id=4102232&width=640&windows=1 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1371649621 type=script]On Tuesday afternoon, isolated thunderstorms developed and tracked across Northeast Kansas.  One cell in particular produced very gusty winds and heavy rain in North Topeka, knocking out power to the NOTO arts district.  A possible microburst is to blame for the damage to power lines and tree limbs.

A microburst is a concentrated blast of wind that comes out of the cloud base and hits the ground at high speeds (50 mph or greater).  The wind then radiates out in different directions, flattening things in its path.  Mircobursts occur quickly and are hard to predict.  They rarely are fatal, but can produce damage similar to a weak tornado.

The National Weather Service in Topeka may head to the damage area today to asset what happened and if it was in-fact a microburst.  Stay tuned for further updates.

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