Straight-line winds the cause of damage in Bedford County following Saturday storms

National Weather Service in Blacksburg says damage was caused by very strong straight-line wind gusts Saturday

Storm damage in Thaxton, Virginia after severe weather rolled through on Saturday, July 29, 2023. Photo: Glenda Malzi (Copyright 2023 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

THAXTON, Va.Crews in Bedford County spent part of the day Monday cleaning up after a severe storm caused damage to trees and powerlines in Thaxton.

10 News asked the National Weather Service in Blacksburg if a storm survey would be conducted Monday.

They said Monday evening that, upon investigation by Emergency Management in Bedford County, the storm damage was ruled straight-line and not tornadic.

The direction in which trees are laying will oftentimes help in determining whether or not a storm was tornadic.

In this case, Bedford County emergency managers more-than-likely saw a divergent tree pattern rather than twists and turns.

How damage differs between a downburst and a tornado

The downbursts or microbursts that cause this kind of damage can be just as strong as (if not stronger than) a tornado.

As hot, humid air rises, it condenses into a cloud and grows taller. These water-loaded storms collapse, and that downward force can send trees downward and outward.

How a downburst/microburst forms

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About the Author

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.

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