On July 27th, a radar indicated supercell hit Istanbul, Turkey, accompanied by large hail and straight line winds produced from a severe downburst. Hail was recorded to be up to 8 – 9 cm in diameter. Widespread damage was reported to be associated with this storm system, including damage to buildings, cars and airliners.
A downburst is a phenomena where a localized area of strong wind flows rapidly downward, typically from a severe storm system such as a supercell. For the conditions to be correct to produce a downburst, the downward flow (downdraft) out of a supercell needs to be unusually high. To create the downburst effect, the system needs to be close to the ground. In combination, this creates strong winds, that when pushed out, have no where to go, and often spreads out in all directions from the point of contact on the ground. Downbursts typically only last a couple of minutes. This can sometimes lead to straightline winds, which can often cause damage similar to that of tornadoes. The difference being, tornadoes have high winds that move inward and upward. Where as a downburst winds move downward and outward. A microburst or macroburst refer to a small or large scale downburst respectively. In the video, courtesy of Meteo Europe, you can see the strong wind effects of an active downburst hitting Istanbul this past Thursday.
To learn more about other severe weather events in Europe, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Claudia Pukropski