A microburst or tornado touched down on Topsfield Road near our house on Mill Road, and hit again in the lot just beyond our house on Mill Road, shattering pine trees. Power on Mill Road went out with the storm on Saturday afternoon and did not return until almost 24 hours later, when they fixed the last downed line on Waldingfield Road. We experienced a similar storm a few years ago in March, which took out several trees along the same path. Both storms registered 90 mph winds.
From the National Weather Service, 9/7/2014:
Location... Ipswich in Essex County MA date… September 6 2014 estimated time… 530 PM EDT estimated maximum wind speed… 80 to 90 mph maximum path width… 1 mile path length… 2 miles beginning lat/Lon… 42.69n / 70.89w ending lat/ * fatalities… 0 * injuries… 0
Summary… the National Weather Service in Taunton MA has confirmed a microburst /straight line wind damage/ near Ipswich in Essex County MA On September 6 2014.
Over one hundred trees were downed… snapped or lost large branches in Ipswich. This included Hardwood and softwood trees such as Oaks and pines. Power was out for a vast majority of the town since many utility lines were brought down.
Damage from the microburst began at mile Lane and Linebrook Road where tops of a large pine Tree and oak tree were snapped off… and ended on argilla Road where large tree limbs and power lines were downed.
The most significant damage was on Topsfield Road where a large Pine Tree was downed and multiple utility lines were downed including a transformer. Damage was also significant on south Main Street at County Road where large Oak trees had limbs snapped off and numerous power and utility lines were downed.
On Waldingfield Road… a large tree and limbs were downed onto the commuter rail tracks which caused delays until the debris could be cleared.
Based upon the observed damage… maximum wind speeds were estimated to be as high as 80 to 90 mph. The damage path was discontinuous and was about two miles long and one mile wide. A wind gust to 63 mph was measured at the Ipswich Fire Department at 530 PM. The fire station is on central street which is about one mile north of the area that sustained the most damage.
The microburst came after two women were struck by a sudden lightning storm while swimming at Crane Beach. They had no pulse when lifeguards reached them and started CPR. Paramedics continued CPR en routine to Beverly Hospital and restored pulses, but both women were in critical condition, with entrance and exit wounds on their bodies. One of the women died the next day.
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. 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.
The video below was taken by Daniel Bates