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Arlington Microburst Wind Speeds Reached Close To 80 MPH

By Terry Eliasen, WBZ-TV Meteorologist, Executive Weather Producer
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Trees toppled in Arlington (Photo credit Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotters, Kate Murphy and Marek Kozubal)

Trees toppled in Arlington (Photo credit Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotters, Kate Murphy and Marek Kozubal)

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BOSTON (CBS) – It sure was a memorable day on Thursday in Southern New England, thunderstorms rocked the region with large hail, frequent lightning and damaging winds.

And now the National Weather Service has confirmed that there was a microburst in Arlington right around 6 p.m.

The damage is obvious in the streets of Arlington, with trees and limbs down everywhere, but specifically over the eastern sections of Arlington including the intersection of Mass. Ave and Broadway…eastward to route 16, towards the Cambridge City line.

View: Photos From The Storm

Multiple homes and cars sustained significant damage in this area, the actual path of the microburst, which extended for about a mile with wind speeds from 70 to 80 miles per hour.

A microburst is not a tornado, but it can cause just as much damage. Winds in a tornado have a strong rotation and therefore make a very specific looking damage pattern…this is easily distinguishable from the damage from a microburst which is all uni-directional. In other words, in a microburst everything is blown in one direction from straight-line winds.

Video: Power Outage Hits WBZ-TV, Todd Gutner Continues Forecast

A microburst is defined as a small but strong area of rapidly sinking air from a thunderstorm. Just picture a rush of air coming directly down from the base of a cloud…it then hits the surface and spreads out or diverges in a straight line, typically lasting only for a few miles or less.

These are not all that rare here in New England, we typically get a couple each year with a strong thunderstorm complex.

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