Author: Mary Knapp

Damage from severe winds doesn’t always come in the form of tornadoes. One type of damaging winds is a microburst. A microburst is a downburst wind that cover an area less than 2.5 miles on a side. The peak winds last 2 to 5 minutes. On September 27, 1998 there were two micro bursts in South Central KS. One was centered north of Pratt. The greatest damage was at the Pratt airport. Thirty buildings had damage ranging from considerable to minor. Debris was carried for miles past the impact point. A John Deere tractor had a 16-foot-long 2 by 4 impaled into the engine compartment. The second microburst caused extensive damage to the Lake Arrowhead resort area five miles southwest of Isabel. Several boats were destroyed and part of a roof was taken off a cabin. A garage under construction was completely destroyed. There was heavy damage to trees in the area.

Figure 1. Diagram of a microburst (NWS)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library