A fleeting but devastating microburst slammed parts of Easthampton, Massachusetts, in the early morning of Wednesday, Oct. 8, flattening trees and battering homes.
Just before 5 a.m. EDT, 100-mph winds pushed through Hampshire County, destroying trees along a pathway estimated to be a mile long.
A microburst is a small column of exceptionally intense and localized sinking air that results in a violent out-rush of air at the ground. The phenomenon is often destructive with straight-line winds that can flatten trees and cause significant structural damage.
The National Weather Service office located in Boston confirmed that the event was due to a microburst. Because of the pummeling force, microbursts are often mistaken for tornadoes. However, there is typically no rotation with a microburst.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, this was an unique event.
"It looks like the whole thunderstorm complex was rotating," Margusity said of the severe storms that moved through the region, prompting the microburst.
Fallen trees blocked area roads and downed power lines. Route 141, also known as Mountain Road, was littered with snapped trees.
A typical microburst has a fanning effect where everything spreads out as it falls. Wednesday's microburst appears to have a wider damage scope than normal.
"This hit on a hill and seemed to accelerate down the mountain side," Margusity said.
There have been no reported injuries or fatalities with this storm, though some families woke to extensive damage to their homes and cars.