Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Holts Summit was hit Saturday afternoon by what a National Weather Service spokesman said was a relatively rare damaging microburst.
The brief violent storm uprooted trees, tossed a large trampoline over a street and wrecked a large transport truck traveling along nearby U.S. 54.
“All of the conditions reported fit a classic microburst. It’s relatively rare to have one that causes damage,” said Scott Truett, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in St. Louis.
“There was no rain near the truck accident but heavy rain nearby. The damage also was confined to one small area. All of this is very typical of a microburst. Microbursts are reported in our forecast area almost every year. But it’s unusual to have one cause damage,” Truett said.
“Conditions were ideal on Saturday for a microburst. We had extremely hot, dry air,” Truett said.
The National Weather Service reports Microbursts can cause wind speeds as high as 150 m.p.h. One cause is rapid cooling beneath a thunderstorm cloud during hot weather. Dry, wet and hybrid Microbursts are caused by varying conditions. A microburst is a localized column of sinking air, producing damaging divergent and straight-line winds at the surface. They are extremely dangerous to aircraft and several fatal airplane crashes have been attributed to microbursts. They always are confined to a small area of only a few miles.
Shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday, Holts Summit First Ward Alderman Jason Michael, a former police officer, said he was traveling south on U.S. 54 near New Bloomfield and was following an 18-wheeled transport truck. Michael said his vehicle was hit by a strong gust of wind. He then saw the wind hit the truck ahead of him, causing the big rig to swerve to the right. It then veered to the left and overturned in the median. “I could tell he was trying to regain control of the truck. But the truck toppled over and crashed,” Michael said.
The driver of the truck was Chester D. Boggs, 55, Pocahontas, Ark. He suffered minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Jefferson City. His truck, a Mack CX600, was demolished.