According to NOAA, macrobursts can produce wind damage comparable to an EF-3 tornado. Microbursts can cause extensive damage at the surface, and in some instances, can be life-threatening. When the downdraft hits the ground, the air is forced to spread outwards in all directions, causing extremely powerful and damaging winds to fan out in all directions. Microbursts last for about five minutes and can cause wind speeds in excess of 160 mph. How Winter Fashion Has Changed in 100 Years (PHOTOS), Eerie Vintage Photos of People Battling the Flu. When examined, however, the damage pattern from a downburst will be either straight-line or divergent, indicating the winds were flowing outward, rather than in a circular, converging pattern as in the case of a tornado. In actuality, the cloud was not a tornado but rather a harmless scud cloud. The resulting wind damage lacks the distinctive rotating swirl of a tornado, but rather looks like a straight line of wind had raked through the area. if the diameter of the downdraft is greater than 4 km, the downburst is called a macroburst. Often, downbursts can produce straight-line wind damage over an area as small as 1 mile to as large as 250 miles from the center of the downdraft. A "downburst" is a strong downdraft which causes damaging winds on or near the ground. This results in incredible wind damage close to the surface of the ground, as well as horizontal rotation midway up between the ground and the base of the thundercloud. Microbursts would be most Wind shifts of 35 to 40 (WATCH: Dramatic Microburst Caught on Camera by Australian Farmer). The term "microburst" describes the size of the downburst. Downburst wind speeds have been known to exceed 100 mph -- as strong as a tornado! upper right corner of the photograph. A downburst is a strong downdraft which includes an outburst of potentially damaging winds on or near the ground. (Courtesy: NWS Birmingham), Radar imagery depicting two downbursts. Take control of your data. showers did produce microbursts in the Lubbock, In fact, a downburst that spans a distance less than 2.5 miles in diameter is considered a microburst. Conversely, downbursts that span greater than 2.5 miles in radius are called macrobursts. and cessation of the wind gusts. Use escape to clear. Microbursts are a dangerous severe weather phenomenon that can cause great amounts of damage with little or no warning. Macrobursts can last nearly half an hour and produce wind speeds in excess of 130 mph. downburst is less than 2.5 miles, it is called a microburst. Studies have shown that they predominantly occur in the High Plains A downburst is an area of strong, downward moving air associated with a downdraft from a thunderstorm. (Courtesy NWS La Crosse), Nick Ulivieri snapped this photo of a 'faux tornado' above the skies of Chicago, Ill. initially develops as the downdraft begins its descent from cloud base. degrees and an area of mid-level moisture as a source for the weak showers. MPH were noted shortly after this time, with a rapid onset Visually, this diverging behavior is represented on Doppler radar velocity displays by bright red and green pixels, indicating high wind speeds, that are nearby but not circulating into each other. A comparison of a microburst and the larger macroburst shows that both can cause extreme wind. Often, the damage is so severe or extensive, it is difficult to fathom that anything other than a tornado produced the damage. and western U.S.: particularly in unstable, very dry low level potentially damaging winds on or near the ground. A microburst environments with surface temperature-dew point spreads of 30 to 50 initially, people attributed microburst damage to tornadoes. 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