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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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, "Getting warmer: Trump concedes human role in climate change," 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, "Friends of Lower Shaker Lake work to restore Shaker Heights’ natural beauty," 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, "Heat wave feels like a familiar Washington summer," 28 June 2019 These strings grow more complex but are still executed as microbursts of electricity. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "DNA Computer Can Calculate the Square Root of 900," 2 Jan. 2020 The region did get socked by a powerful microburst on Sept. 13 that unleashed high winds, uprooting mammoth trees and snapping others at the trunk. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Really wet, then really dry, then really hot, then really cold: 2019 had weather extremes," 21 Dec. 2019 One component of the play area will be a section of the 300-year-old white oak tree that was felled by high winds in the Sep. 13 microburst, having already been moved from what is now a large stump off of South Park Boulevard at Lower Shaker Lake. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "All People’s Trail reopens at Shaker Lakes Nature Center after $2.5 million rebuild," 10 Nov. 2019 As for whether the latest microburst was worse than the storm cell that hit the city on Aug. 9, 2016, and cost the city at least $400,000 for emergency response and cleanup, Briley said that comparisons are odious. Thomas Jewell, cleveland.com, "Second microburst in 3 years ravages Cleveland Heights all over again," 17 Sep. 2019 The latter reveals, in microbursts, the rail and the silhouette of the ride. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Very Merry: Disney rolls out new fireworks, Orange Bird sweets, rides with ‘holiday twist’," 14 Nov. 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.

See More

First Known Use of microburst

1980, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about microburst

Time Traveler for microburst

Time Traveler

The first known use of microburst was in 1980

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about microburst

Statistics for microburst

Cite this Entry

“Microburst.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microburst. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on microburst

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about microburst

Comments on microburst

What made you want to look up microburst? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!