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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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 Winds in a microburst can reach 100 mph, equaling the force of an F-1 tornado, but without the formation of a funnel cloud. Maria Eberhart, baltimoresun.com, 8 July 2021 Although the Coast Guard said the lift boat capsized during a microburst, a National Weather Service meteorologist said the system was more like an offshore derecho. Kevin Mcgill, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Apr. 2021 Although the Coast Guard said the lift boat capsized during a microburst, a National Weather Service meteorologist said the system was more like an offshore derecho — or straight winds storm. Stacey Plaisance, Star Tribune, 14 Apr. 2021 In 1994, a US Air DC-9 encountered a microburst, which is turbulent. John Cox, USA TODAY, 18 Mar. 2021 As a child growing up in Rogers Park on Chicago’s North Side, Hamernik was fascinated when a microburst knocked down many of the large trees in his yard. Robert Channick, chicagotribune.com, 10 Mar. 2021 The climate change exchange represented a rare microburst of policy discussion from Trump in a loud, nerve-abrading debate. Ellen Knickmeyer And Seth Borenstein, Star Tribune, 30 Sep. 2020 There have already been some setbacks in the early going, most notably with the microburst that swept through nearly a year ago on Sept. 13. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 1 Sep. 2020 In Prince George’s County, the fire department cited a National Weather Service report of a microburst in the Suitland area. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 28 June 2019

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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The first known use of microburst was in 1980

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Cite this Entry

“Microburst.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microburst. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on microburst

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about microburst


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