Microburst likely cause of Albertville damage - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Microburst likely cause of Albertville damage

A storm in Albertville left behind damage on Thursday night. (Source: WAFF) A storm in Albertville left behind damage on Thursday night. (Source: WAFF)
A microburst is the likely cause of all the damage from the storm in Albertville on Thursday night.

Meteorologist David Ernst explains what happened in Albertville.

He said ultimately, wind is wind.

But we can see that wind hit us in different ways.

Of course we're all too familiar with tornadic winds in the Tennessee Valley, but there's also something called a microburst.

It's more common to hear about the destruction they cause as being done by straight-line winds as opposed to the rotating winds of a tornado.

A microburst is a localized area of strong winds generated from extremely intense thunderstorm rain.

"The analogy would be a bowling ball of wind and rain. When the thunderstorm can't support all of that rain, the updraft weakens and all of that comes crashing down, like pulling the plug on a sink," according to Steven Pfaff, NWS meteorologist.

Microbursts like we saw in Albertville are generally confined to a two-mile radius. Typically most summer-time storm damage is caused by microbursts as opposed to tornadoes.

"If a special weather statement or severe thunderstorm warning is issued, then you should treat it like you will see damaging winds," said Pfaff.

That includes damaging winds like those blamed for bringing down trees and power lines and causing damage to some roofs in Albertville. Although tornadoes and microbursts form in different ways, the damage they produce often looks the same, according to Ernst.

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