July 19, 2006 Microbursts

 

Survey Summary

The National Weather Service in Huntsville and the Colbert County Emergency Management Agency conducted a storm survey this morning and early afternoon. Two storm damage areas were documented - both determined to be associated with localized microbursts.

Survey #1: Bear Creek portion of Pickwick Lake

A microburst occurred at approximately 4:20 pm from a collapsing severe thunderstorm that moved northeast to southwest across the area. This storm produced localized winds up to 80 mph along the western and southern shore lines of the lake. This blew down or snapped up to 50 trees along the shoreline - most of them being tall oak, pine, and maple. Based upon the positioning of the downed and snapped trees, winds from this downburst were from the northeast, right off the open fetch of Pickwick Lake. These trees were shallow rooted in wet sandy soil along the lake shore, thus making them more vulnerable to wind damage. Eyewitnesses noticed that these strong winds lasted about 2 minutes, followed by a more prolonged period of heavy downpours and lesser wind gusts. Little damage occurred to adjacent residences along the lakeside. No injuries were noted.

Survey #2: Cherokee

A microburst occurred at approximately 5:15 pm from a collapsing severe thunderstorm that developed just northeast of Cherokee around 5:00 pm. Estimated winds of up to 65 mph overtopped a series of west facing metal bleachers at the Cherokee High School football stadium. No one was on site during the storm. A few Bradford pear trees at the adjacent elementary school were also blown down.


Radar Imagery/Storm Pictures
Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Storm damage near Pickwick Lake

Storm damage near Pickwick Lake

Four-panel base reflectivity data from KGWX radar around 4:22 PM, the time of the microburst that occurred near Pickwick Lake. In the four panels we see (clockwise from top left) the 0.5°, 1.3°, 2.4°, and 3.1° scans of the radar. This shows an elevated precipitation core over the Bear Creek area near the Alabama-Mississippi border.

Four-panel base reflectivity data from GWX radar around 4:13 PM, the time of the microburst that occurred in the town of Cherokee. In the four panels we see (clockwise from top left) the 0.5°, 1.3°, 2.4°, and 3.1° scans of the radar. This shows an descending precipitation core over and just north of Cherokee.

 

Storm damage near Pickwick Lake

Storm damage near Pickwick Lake

Several snapped and uprooted trees next to Pickwick Lake in far northwest Colbert County.

Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton stands next to the roots of a large uprooted tree near Pickwick Lake in northwest Colbert County.

 

Storm damage in Cherokee Storm damage in Cherokee
Bleachers at Cherokee High School's football stadium overturned, and damage to an adjacent fence.
Another view of the overturned bleachers. In this picture, you can see where they used to sit.

 


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