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What caused the microburst in Maclean?

Ben Domensino, Wednesday January 3, 2018 - 14:30 EDT

A destructive thunderstorm uprooted trees and tore roofs from buildings as it moved over the town of Maclean, located to the west of Yamba, on Tuesday afternoon.

While some locals thought the carnage was caused by a tornado, it was actually something called a 'wet microburst.'

The destructive weather phenomenon occurred within a thunderstorm that formed over the inland ranges and intensified rapidly as it approached the coast.

The storm's proximity to the coast, namely an abundant source of moisture, was one reason this supercell thunderstorm produced a wet microburst at Maclean.

Wet microbursts occur when the rain suspended within a storm rapidly sinks towards the ground, dragging air towards the surface with it. As the mass of sinking moisture and air slams into the ground, it rushes outwards in all directions.

Microbursts can be strong enough to cause significant damage to anything standing in their way.

Unfortunately, microbursts develop rapidly and only last for a short period of time, making them very difficult to predict and warn communities about.

This phenomenon is another reason to prepare for the worst if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued for your area.


- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2018

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