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Weather Academy: Different Types of Wind Damage

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 6:06 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Welcome back to the weather Academy. This week we continue our topic on severe weather by talking about different types of wind damage. There are many different types, but today we highlight the few we can experience here in the ArkLaMiss.

The first of those is a straight line of winds. These are typically associated with thunderstorms but not necessarily the rotating part of the thunderstorm. We use this term to differentiate between tornadic winds. This wind is moving straight and can sometimes exceed 100 miles per hour.

The next on the list is a downdraft. So, in this case, winds in the atmosphere don’t always move in the horizontal. Sometimes they move in the vertical so that they can be moving up or moving down. A downdraft is a small-scale column of air that sinks very rapidly towards the ground. This can cause damage to trees or even structures.

The next one we have had one of these in the ArkLaMiss before is a microburst. This is typically associated with a thunderstorm. It’s a small concentrated outward verse of strong winds at or near the surface. So notice as these winds came down from the thunderstorm, they knocked the trees down. When a microburst happens, we see about a two-mile radius around where those winds happen, and it’s in a circle because it’s associated with that storm.

A gust front is also associated with thunderstorm activity. The outflow of cold air that’s being pushed up against the warm air inflow causes a rapid change in those winds. Now, this is why you can typically feel a thunderstorm before you even experience some of the rain from the storm itself.

Another one is tornadoes. And, of course, we had a few of these in the region already this year. This is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with the ground. If it’s not in contact with the ground, it is considered a funnel cloud. But in this case, sometimes tornadoes can be so strong that they can produce winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.

The last one on the list is hurricanes. Now in this sense, it is an area of low pressure. It’s rotating very strongly. This can move on land. Usually, once it moves on land, we see some weakening, but it can still produce winds in excess of 157 miles per hour.

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