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Microburst felt in Lake City | What does that mean? How damaging is it?

On Friday a downburst or a possible tornado was felt west of Lake City in North Florida. The question is what exactly is a downburst or a microburst?

LAKE CITY, Fla. — A downburst or a possible tornado was felt west of Lake City in North Florida on Friday. The National Weather Service reported that a downburst took place 5 miles NNW of Mcalpin Suwanee. This could have been a possible tornado as well with downed trees powerlines and structures damaged at the Mystic Jungle Educational Facility. 

The question some people may have is what exactly is a downburst, or in it's more microscale setup a microburst. 

The NWS office term for it is. "Downburst is the general term for all localized strong wind events that are caused by a strong downdraft within a thunderstorm, while microburst simply refers to an especially small downburst that is less than 4 km across."

They form when dry air begins to mix into rainfall in a thunderstorm forcing droplets to evaporate and thus calling what we refer to as evaporative cooling. When this happens air aloft becomes heavier as cold air is more dense than warm air and thus the heavier air rushes towards the surface sometimes at speeds up to 100-150mph. 

The end result can be damage that may look tornadic over a small area.

RELATED: If you find this interesting check out the type of weather satellites we use to track these storms.


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