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Explainer: What is a microburst? - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Explainer: What is a microburst?

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GREAT FALLS -

The National Weather Service says that the storms that rolled across parts of Montana on Thursday created a "wet microburst" near Sunburst at 7:59 p.m.

The microburst created a verified wind gust of 115 miles per hour.

Click here to see raw video of the leading edge of wind caused by the microburst.

Randy Fauque told MTN News in an email: "Clocked last night in the midst of the windstorm that came through Sunburst.  Our farm is located southeast of Sunburst. Lots of downed trees in the yard." After reviewing the equipment that Fauque uses and the storm damage, the NWS confirmed the recorded wind speed.

Fauque also said: "We lost our deck canopy and tree limbs from the large cottonwood trees, and it completely took out the crabapple tree and a caragana tree by the roots.  Our son and daughter-in-law live a half-mile away.  They faced a partial loss of the roof on their machine shed as well as many roof shingles on their home and destruction to their cattle windbreak.  An oil company nearby lost a complete shed that blew away as well.  Our neighbors living a quarter mile away experienced siding damage to their home as well as tree damage and loss of patio fire pit, etc."

The National Weather Service says that a microburst is a localized column of sinking air (downdraft) within a thunderstorm and is usually less than or equal to 2.5 miles in diameter.

They can cause extensive damage at the surface, and in some instances, can be life-threatening.

The NWS notes: "Wind speeds in microbursts can reach up to 100 mph, or even higher, which is equivalent to an EF-1 tornado! Winds this high can cause major damage to homes and other structures and level hundreds of trees."

RELATED: 100+ mph winds slam the Hi-Line (storm damage photos)

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