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Destructive Sunday night in Tibooburra

Ben Domensino, Monday October 9, 2017 - 11:46 EDT

A violent thunderstorm produced a wind gust of 159km/h in northwest NSW on Sunday night.

The destructive gust was recorded at Tibooburra Airport at around 8pm on Sunday as a severe thunderstorm moved through the region.

Winds of this intensity are strong enough to uproot trees and cause significant structural damage. Gust this strong are typical near the core of a strong category two tropical cyclone and they are seldom recorded in Australia's outback.

The 159km/h gust was the strongest to be recorded at Tibooburra Airport since observations commenced at the site in 2003.

While winds of this strength can be caused by tornadoes, last night's gust was most likely produced by an abrupt downburst of air called a microburst.

A microburst is caused when air within a storm sinks towards the surface and rapidly spreads out when it reaches the ground.

The storm also produced a temperature drop of 10 degrees in three minutes and 24mm of rain in 10 minutes at Tibooburra Airport. The storm's total of 26mm was Tibooburra's heaviest rain in a year.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

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