5.17.14 Lessons Learned from Tornado Warning

Published 05/17 2014 07:52PM

Updated 05/17 2014 08:06PM

A tornado warned storm moving through Craftsbury, Vermont early Saturday morning downed trees and damaged a barn along Wild Branch Road.

The National Weather Service sent a storm assessment team to investigate the damage. After reviewing the scene, it was determined that the damage was caused by a microburst rather than a tornado.

There are a few key differences between the two. First of all, a tornado is a violently rotating cloud in contact with the ground. Its destructive winds often leave a trail of damage in its wake. That damage often falls in a circular pattern, representing the swirling counterclockwise winds.

A microburst, on the other hand, is a gust of strong winds that essentially drops right out of a severe thunderstorm. These straight line winds often leave damage (typically trees) sitting in the same direction. In Craftsbury, the winds were estimated to be 65-75 mph.

While no tornadoes were confirmed with this warning, it's a good reminder that twisters can happen almost anywhere, and without much notice. Remember, a tornado warning means a tornado is imminent or already occurring. As such, you should immediately move to safe shelter. That's in the lowest level of the building, like a basement, or an interior room away from windows (a closet or bathe room).

This is also a prime example of why NOAA Weather Radios are useful. When warnings come out overnight, the loud alarm will wake you up even though you may not be watching TV for storm information.

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