CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thunderstorm damage in Longmeadow was not caused by a tornado.
That determination was made by the National Weather Service Boston office in Norton, MA.
According to Frank Nocera, a meteorologist at NWS Boston, they reviewed radar data and damage photos to determine that straight-line winds were the likely cause.
More specifically a “wet microburst” was most likely the phenomenon to bring such strong winds.
A microburst forms when you have a strong thunderstorm with some drier air intruding higher in the storm.
That drier air works to dry some of the rain that had been lifted higher into the storm. As that water dries and evaporates it cools the air. That cooler air falls and accelerates down.
That air then hits the ground at great speed and is forced outward in a straight line once it reaches the ground.
Winds in a microburst can reach up to 150 mph over a small area up to 2 miles. Some microbursts can cause more damage than weak tornadoes.
This is why you should take severe thunderstorms and severe thunderstorm warnings seriously.