ERVING, Mass. (WWLP) – A microburst passed through Erving and Warwick Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Strong storms that passed through Franklin County Thursday afternoon uprooted trees and brought down some wires. Heavy storm damage was reported in Warwick and at the height of the storm with more than 400 residents still without power Friday morning, according to National Grid.
The National Weather Service surveyed the damage in the towns of Warwick, Orange, Athol, and the northern part of New Salem. Wind speeds estimated at 90 MPH, occurred in Warwick. The microburst began a couple of miles to the southwest in the town of Erving at around 3:05 p.m., where numerous trees were downed on North Shore Road near Laurel Lake. More downed trees occurred at a campground just east of Quarry Road.
The most damage occurred on Wendell Road, east of the campground, on Hockanum Road, and on the Hockanum Hill section of Warwick. There were more than a hundred trees downed, mainly pines, that were snapped mid-way up and at the top, with others uprooted.
Local fire department officials indicated that a couple of homes were hit by fallen trees, one of which suffered damage to the property. Trees fell in the same direction, from southwest to northeast, indicative of straight-line winds. There are no reported injuries.
What is a microburst vs tornado?
The most important thing to remember about microbursts is how isolated and concentrated the damage that results is. This type of downburst is typically smaller than a few miles across and are short-lived outward bursts of strong winds. Wind speeds can sometimes exceed 100 miles per hour which is comparable to an EF1 tornado.
Straight-line wind is just a general term used to describe damaging wind from a thunderstorm that is not associated with rotation. Straight-line wind damage happens when a thunderstorm downdraft hits the ground and flows outward, typically along a line of thunderstorms.
A tornado is obviously the most destructive. It is a violently rotating column of air touching the ground. It is considered a funnel cloud if it does not touch all the way to the ground. Winds of a tornado can exceed 300 miles per hour, and the damage path can be over a mile wide and 50 miles long.