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The Making of a Microburst


A small community west of Charlottesville is cleaning up after a short but dangerous storm last week.

Rose Guterbock was at home late Wednesday afternoon when a surprise storm hit Crozet.

“The sky turned black very quickly, and before we knew ith the rain was just coming in sideways, " she recalls. " I was a little worried that the windows were going to blow in because the pressure changed so fast, and we knew it was going to be a really damaging storm."

The family’s porch swing blew away, tree limbs came down all over the neighborhood and one mature ash tree split in half.  The reason, says NBC 29 meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick is the sudden formation of rain or hail displacing the air.

“You get this heavy burst of rain that comes barreling down to the ground at speeds in excess of 60, 80 miles an hour – in some cases 100 miles an hour and it fans out,” he explains.

A similar storm hit Lexington, and now, Fitzpatrick says, the whole area should get ready for more potentially dangerous weather:

“We may actually see some more of these on Sunday evening with thunderstorms at the end of a very scorching day and also Monday evening is a better chance for perhaps some microbursts.”

That’s because a cold front in the upper Midwest is coming our way – promising to cool things off but also to spawm thunderstorms and microbursts.  

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief