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27 February 2024 ( 41 views )
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This Incredibly Rare Microburst Falling From The Sky Looks Insane

A microburst is an intense atmospheric phenomenon that often accompanies thunderstorms. It’s essentially a powerful, sudden gust of wind that shoots downward and then spreads out quickly upon hitting the ground. This event can be particularly hazardous, especially in the context of aviation.

To understand microbursts (rain bombs) better, let’s break down how they form. During a thunderstorm, varying temperatures and air densities interact. A microburst starts when a significantly cooler air mass within the storm begins to descend rapidly. This cool air, being denser than the warm air surrounding it, accelerates downward due to gravity.

As this column of cool air hits the ground, it has nowhere to go but outwards in all directions, creating a strong downdraft. Imagine it as a powerful blast of air shooting down from the sky and then radiating outward like water splashing from a dropped bucket.

The danger of microbursts lies in their intensity and suddenness. These bursts of wind can reach speeds up to 150 miles per hour—comparable to a small tornado. They are short-lived, typically lasting for just a few minutes, but in that brief time, they can wreak havoc. The high wind speeds can cause significant damage to buildings, trees, and infrastructure. For individuals caught outside, these winds can be perilous.

Microburst

In aviation, microbursts pose a critical threat. As an aircraft encounters a microburst during takeoff or landing, it can experience drastic changes in wind speed and direction.

This can lead to a sudden loss of lift, causing the aircraft to lose altitude rapidly. The unpredictable nature of microbursts makes them a serious challenge for pilots, even those with considerable experience.

Microbursts can be detected using Doppler radar, which helps in issuing timely warnings. These weather events are often accompanied by other severe weather features like heavy rain, lightning, and thunder. Pilots are extensively trained to recognize and respond to potential microbursts.

Despite this training, microbursts remain a significant hazard during the critical phases of flight, such as takeoff and landing.

Rain bomb captured in Queensland, Australia, by farmer Peter Thompson

Rare Wet Microburst

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