Tuesday Storm Packed 'Downburst' With 60-75 MPH Winds In Topeka

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday that a downburst hit part of North Topeka Tuesday, packing 60-75 mph winds.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday near Garfield Park in North Topeka. The path of the downburst was about 1.5 miles long and 2 miles wide, the NWS said Wednesday.

Peak wind gusts lasted less than a minute, according to the NWS.

What is a downburst as defined by the NWS?

"A strong downdraft which induces an outburst of damaging winds on or near the surface."

The downburst left downed trees and power lines near Northeast Quincy and Independence.

The National Weather Service was assessing Tuesday's storm as a possible microburst before confirming the downburst. The two weather events are similar.

What is a microburst? The National Weather Service explains:

"A microburst is a downdraft (sinking air) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale. Some microbursts can pose a threat to life and property, but all microbursts pose a significant threat to aviation. Although microbursts are not as widely recognized as tornadoes, they can cause comparable, and in some cases, worse damage than some tornadoes produce. In fact, wind speeds as high as 150 mph are possible in extreme microburst cases."

An afternoon storm blew through Topeka Tuesday leaving more than a thousand Westar customers without power.

The National Weather Service reported isolated storms developing over Northeast Kansas around 1:05 p.m. At that time wind and lightning were considered the potential threat from the system.

By 3:42 p.m. the National Weather Service in Topeka was reporting pea sized hail and heavy rainfall in the capital city. Peak winds just before 4 p.m. clocked at 45 miles per hour.

Westar Energy listed 1300 customers without power as of 4:10 p.m. Tuesday.