mi·​cro·​burst | \ ˈmī-krō-ˌbərst How to pronounce microburst (audio) \

Definition of microburst

: a violent short-lived localized downdraft that creates extreme wind shears at low altitudes and is usually associated with thunderstorms

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Did You Know?

Credit for the invention of the word microburst is generally given to tornado expert Tetsuya Theodore Fujita. Fujita first described these extremely intense wind patterns in 1974. He noted that microbursts are usually short-lived, lasting only 5 to 15 minutes, but that they are extremely dangerous, especially for aircraft, because they cause sudden unexpected changes in wind direction or speed. Since the mid-1970s, many airports have installed Doppler radar systems to help detect potentially deadly microbursts.

Examples of microburst in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The headlines Storm cleanup: Eastern suburbs saw at least 50 broken utility poles and 122 downed power lines in a microburst from Friday’s thunderstorms, reports cleveland.com’s Evan MacDonald. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Cleveland, eastern suburbs hit by microburst that knocks out power for days: The Wake Up for Monday, Sept. 16, 2019," 16 Sep. 2019 Evidence of a possible microburst has occurred in the Chicopee, McKinstry and Beverly Street areas. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Severe thunderstorms took down trees, power lines from Boston to Gloucester," 1 Aug. 2019 The National Weather Service will investigate Monday whether the storm included a microburst, a small-scale downdraft produced by a thunderstorm or rain shower. Gus Chan, cleveland.com, "‘We are so grateful for this neighborhood:’ Cleveland Heights residents shine in storm’s aftermath," 15 Sep. 2019 His play has been like the weather in Jersey City this week: If the sun is hot and bright in the sky, just wait an hour and a microburst will blow in dark clouds, sheets of rain and sheer misery. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Jordan Spieth Finds Youthful Inspiration at the Northern Trust," 9 Aug. 2019 But macrobursts and microbursts leave their mark by tossing debris in a single direction. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Not a tornado — a macroburst: Here's what caused storm damage in Baltimore, Harford counties last week," 4 June 2019 And so the group's initial microburst of success with one bop on Sony that got them onto MTVapparently spelled doom for their church life and Dad's entire livelihood. Chris Willman, chicagotribune.com, "Review: The Jonas Brothers' 'Chasing Happiness'," 9 June 2019 Any storm that develops could be plenty strong, with frequent lightning, small hail and strong wind gusts with the potential for a few wet microbursts. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Storms likely this afternoon and evening, and a few could be intense," 19 June 2018 Luckily, during a strong thunderstorm in Tucson, Arizona, Bryan Snider Photography captured a wet microburst on camera. Rebecca Shinners, Country Living, "You Will Not Be Able to Tear Your Eyes Away From This Mesmerizing Microburst," 18 Aug. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'microburst.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of microburst

1980, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for microburst

The first known use of microburst was in 1980

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More from Merriam-Webster on microburst

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about microburst

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