Microburst Strikes Upper West Side

MANHATTAN — Broken windows and wind damage were the likely result of a microburst that hit the upper west side early Friday morning, a National Weather Service official said.

"In most cases they're not strong-force winds. But in some cases we do get these sudden winds that can knock down trees and cause damage," said Greg Lundeen, a NWS meteorologist. Friday's brief but sudden storm packed strong winds, blowing out the front windows of the Dorchester Towers Apartments and downing powerlines in the area, cutting off power for several hours to the neighboring blocks.

Other parts of the city experienced power outages, downed power lines and light hail.

A microburst, according to Lundeen, is part of the basic mechanics of a storm. As a storm's strength is built up by winds from the ground up, eventually gravity takes over and the energy returns to the surface, in some cases accompanied by extremely strong winds. That is likely what occurred in the Upper West Heights area. "Power lines down over a small area is usually a good sign of something like that happening," Lundeen said.

Residents of Dorchester Towers are expected to be able to remain in their apartments while the cleanup process is underway.

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