What are straight-line winds?

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When we talk about thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, and hail often come to mind. But the wind produced by thunderstorms can be equally destructive. At times the damage from the wind alone can be so severe that many mistake it for tornado damage.

Straight-line winds are the strong winds produced by a thunderstorm.

Typically, strong winds occur in thunderstorms with very strong updrafts and downdrafts. It’s the air being pushed down that creates these gusty winds. Straight-line winds can easily topple trees and even cause significant damage to structures.

The remnants of tropical systems often produce destructive winds as well. This was the case in late October of 2019 as the remnants of Tropical Storm Olga moved through portions of Middle Tennessee. Winds estimated between 70 and 90 mph downed trees and damaged homes in Perry, Houston, Humphreys, and Montgomery counties.

In some areas, the damage was so severe, it looked like a tornado had moved through. But, it was high wind gusts that caused the destruction. So when there’s a severe storm warning in your area, seek shelter, because high winds can be just as dangerous as other types of severe weather. 

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee is February 23rd – 29th. The News 2 Weather Authority has special reports for you all week. On Wednesday, Chief Meteorologist Danielle Breezy brings you the stories of Storm Survivors. You’ll meet people from across Middle Tennessee who came face-to-face with deadly storms, as they share the lessons taken away from their close calls.

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