It’s not a tornado, but it’s just as deadly. Understanding straight-line winds


It’s easy to see the aftermath of a severe storm and assume tornado. But it could be from straight-line winds which are the dangerous wind in a storm not associated with a tornado. 
These winds get their momentum from strong downdrafts in thunderstorms and can be even more dangerous than a tornado. 

June 29th of last year. An intense line of thunderstorms produced this damage. This was from a microburst, a form of straight-line winds. The strength of the wind was estimated at 130 mph. Luckily no one was injured because everyone was able to get in the basement. This home is a loss and at first glance, you may think it was a tornado but it was from intense straight-line wind. 

In that same line of thunderstorms, straight-line winds of 80 mph barreled through Heckers and New Johns Lake in McLean County… taking the life of a 42-year old man and injuring 4 others. About 30 campers were damaged and some destroyed as they overturned due to this estimate 80 mph wind. 

Wind damage is determined by the debris. If it’s pushed in one direction, it’s typically straight-line wind. If it’s scattered about in many locations, that usually signifies a tornado. But you need a trained eye for these surveys. Those are only done by the National Weather Service. 

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