National Weather Service Confirms Microburst In Wareham, Onset

WAREHAM (CBS) – The National Weather Service has confirmed that a microburst hit Wareham and Onset Tuesday night, just a day after Hurricane Sandy.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

Heavy rains and winds, left over from Sandy, whipped through both communities between 7 and 8 p.m. tearing down trees and power lines.

Three boats capsized in Onset Bay. A kayak was also impaled in the window of a home.

Read: Difference Between Microburst and Tornado

A survey team from the National Weather Service inspected the damage Wednesday to see if it was a microburst, which is a sudden, violent downdraft of wind.

They found evidence of wind speeds of 60-to-70 mph and pockets of 80-to-90 mph shortly after 7:30 p.m.

It was short lived, lasting only for a few minutes, traveling about two miles with a width of about two miles.

No one was hurt, but there was a trail of damage, primarily in Onset Bay Marina, Swifts Beach in Wareham and on Pinehurst Drive, also in Wareham.

A microburst is different than a tornado in that its damage is done with straight-lined winds, no rotation like that of a tornado. It is defined a rush or burst of air coming downward out of the base of a thunderstorm. When that burst of air hits the ground it spreads out quickly over land and pushes everything in its path in a straight line. Microbursts can be very dangerous, especially to aircraft in the area due to the strong wind shear they create.

According to the National Weather Service, a microburst is “a convective downdraft with an affected outflow area of less than 2 miles wide and peak winds lasting less than 5 minutes. Microbursts may induce dangerous horizontal/vertical wind shears, which can adversely affect aircraft performance and cause property damage.”

WBZ-TV Meteorologist-Exec. Weather Producer Terry Eliasen contributed to this report.

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