Storms produced microburst in McNairy County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Storms produced microburst in McNairy County

The weather is quiet now, but we had some strong and even severe storms last weekend across the Mid-South.

We had the rare “Wake Low” event behind a band of rain on Saturday with a couple hours of gusty wind up to 50 MPH at times. On Sunday, we also had some high wind, but it was due to a different kind of weather phenomenon.

A quick burst of wind from a thunderstorm, called a “microburst,” impacted the town of Selmer, TN in McNairy County around 5 p.m. Check out the diagram below from National Weather Service in Memphis. It shows in detail what happened. Click here to read more from their storm survey

A microburst is the result of a quick burst of sinking air. That air can be either filled with precipitation (called a wet microburst) or filled with dry air from aloft (called a dry microburst). Check out the diagram below to see how these develop.

Strong currents of rising air (updrafts) suspend raindrops or hail high up in the storm. When the updraft weakens, all that moisture falls quickly to the surface and produces a fast current of sinking air (downdraft). The air speeds up and spreads out as hits the surface. If it's strong enough, it can be classified as a microburst which can produce damage to anything in its path. The strongest wind peaked at 75-80 MPH near the Selmer Golf and Country Club. Click here to see the video from Country Club Lane in Selmer recorded by Justin Coleman.

Typically, microbursts occur in the summer months with those quick pop-up storms during the peak heat of the day, so seeing one in the spring is a little rare. They are extremely hard to forecast since they form and die quickly and can happen in virtually any thunderstorm. The microburst and the wake low are two prime examples of why forecasting the weather can be a challenge here in the Mid-South, but that’s the part I enjoy the most: the challenge of getting it right!

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Facebook:  Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter:  @sdentonwx

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