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June 2012
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High winds cause damage in Marshall

By LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

A microburst blew a garage off its foundation, broke a car window and caused other property damage near Draffenville on Sunday morning.

The microburst produced winds of up to 85 mph between 9:17 and 9:22 a.m. No one was hurt, and the storm slowly lost strength as it moved east of the Lakes region, the National Weather Service reported.

A roof covering between the displaced garage and the house collapsed, and the siding and exterior covering of the adjacent house was blown out. At least half a dozen other homes in the area lost shingles or suffered slight exterior damage, while at least two other garages sustained partial loss of roofs and siding. The winds uprooted several trees and broke limbs off dozens, according to the report.

Microbursts are quite common, and can bring wind gusts of up to 120 mph, NWS meteorologist Ryan Presley said.

"Some microbursts can be as strong as lower-end tornadoes," he said.

He explained that microbursts are essentially very strong localized downdrafts that measure up to 2½ miles in diameter. When the air hits the ground, it spreads outward from the point of impact. The microburst near Draffenville had a maximum width of 400 yards.

The weather service typically puts out a severe thunderstorm warning when meteorologists expect higher-than-normal winds, but sometimes winds are too localized to see on the radar. That was the case with this microburst, Presley added.

"It goes to show we try to do our best, but there's still a lot of imperfection in the science of meteorology," he said.

"It definitely pays to heed not only the warnings, but also the advisories that are issued."

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