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What is a microburst?

What is a microburst?

A microburst is a small downdraft that is the opposite of a tornado and are found inside rather strong thunderstorms. The difference between a microburst and a tornado are that tornados pull air in, and microbursts push air out, and tornadoes usually have the appearance of swirling wind.

There are two types:
* Dry Microburst
* Wet Microburst

There are also three stages of a microburst
* Downburst
* Outburst
* Cushion

They can be incredibly dangerous, especially to aircraft, do to the wind shear caused by their gust fronts. They are very hard to predict.
They can have such high winds like (270kmph/170mph) that can easily flatten fully grown trees in mere seconds.

Dry microbursts:
When it rains under the cloud base and/or mixes with dry air it begins to evaporate which then makes the air cool and causes it to descend and accelerate towards the ground, which when it does it spreads out in all directions, which is the signature of a dry microburst.

Wet microbursts:
A wet microburst usually come with significant rain at the surface which is warmer than the surrounding environment, melting the ice, usually hail, which plays a major part in microburst formation.

Image: Chris Adams Photography / SSA