What is a microburst?

WEATHER: Like It or Not!

Larry Mowry Image
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
WEATHER: Like It or Not? How microbursts form
Meteorologist Larry Mowry explains how a microburst forms within a thunderstorm.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Have you heard of a microburst before? It's a very localized weather phenomenon that can do lots of damage.

A microburst is a strong burst of wind coming out of a thunderstorm that impacts a small area. Here's how it forms.

In a thunderstorm, a cold pocket of air can form up in the cloud. That cold air wants to rapidly sink.

As it sinks, it hits the ground at a fast speed and then spreads out. Those winds don't last long, but they can be quite strong. Winds can gust to 60 to 80 mph, or even stronger. Winds of that speed can knock over trees and do damage to your home.

Microbursts are very hard to warn for because they are hard to spot on radar. Since they don't last very long, forecasters are still trying to find ways to provide faster warning of possible microbursts.


Which is worse: Watch or Warning?

How do tornadoes form?

Where are you safest from lightning?

What is an outflow boundary?