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MICROBURST TO BLAME: National Weather Service confirms straight line wind damage in Ontario, Livingston counties

The National Weather Service has confirmed the damage observed through Livingston and Ontario counties on Thursday, June 16 was caused by a microburst, or ‘straight line’ winds.

Despite concerns about the spin-up of a tornado – there was no evidence of it.


Before the storms rolled through, ripping off the roof of a barn, and uprooting plenty of trees- the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Watch.

RELATED: Residents clean up after violent storm rocks the Finger Lakes (video)

Less than two hours after that initial watch was issued, the thunderstorms blossomed- prompting a series of severe thunderstorm warnings.

The storms that rolled through Livingston and Ontario counties packed winds in excess of 60 mph. The winds observed in the areas where damage was most-severe were around 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.


The path of damage was about 400 yards wide and 8 miles in length. The microburst only lasted about 10 minutes, but that was enough.

A microburst occurs when air rushes toward the earth inside a thunderstorm. That causes the powerful straight line winds observed at ground level.

A graphical breakdown of a microburst from the National Weather Service. From a distance, the mass and shape of a microburst can look like a tornado. This could explain why so many in surrounding communities thought they saw a tornado when the storms went through.

FingerLakes1.com reporter Rebecca Swift caught up with local residents minutes after the storms rolled through. Check out her report below.



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