Microbursts + Supercells

MikeD

EF1
Oct 10, 2017
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Memphis
Supercells could be deadly in many ways: lightning, hidden funnels, new mesocyclone from a cyclic supercell, etc.

How much should I worry about macrobursts/microbursts when chasing?
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
Well yes, supercells also can have strong winds. I'm not sure that I'd worry about it as you shouldn't be close enough to be impacted by them when you're starting. Take a look at some of the online spotter training courses and you'll see how to recognize those features.
 
May 18, 2013
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I've been caught in a vehicle in a wet microburst before and the biggest issue we faced was zero visibility. I'd never seen so much rain in a minute. Driving in that is very dangerous. Winds in a microburst can reach EF-1 levels, so flying debris can be a danger, especially if you are parked under a rotten tree. Chances of encountering a microburst while chasing is low, but if you try to cut between cells in multi-celluar line, you increase your chances. I'm not sure I would worry about microbursts, but as a chaser you will encounter low visibility, wet roads, and winds even outside of a microburst, so you should be prepared. A good read on microbursts: https://www.weather.gov/bmx/outreach_microbursts
 
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Jun 1, 2008
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Chattanooga, TN
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Agree microbursts are low on the risk list. Violent RFD might be a bigger risk with a collapsing storm.

A more subtle but dangerous feature on some supercells is the ghost train. It is very rapid inflow from the side/rear (not the RFD) that can cause damage. Ghost train gets its name from the haze of dust. It is more concentrated and stronger than inflow from the front side. Avoid the ghost train. Easy to avoid if following from a safe distance and angle.

Note that more typical inflow from the front often carries dust too; but, it is usually not dangerous. Some chasers love that inflow rush, but the hobby has risks. No guarantees.
 
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