Thunderstorm downburst caught on camera Monday

Lightning from a storm on Monday
Lightning from a storm on Monday(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 8:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 9:01 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - With the heat and humidity storms have been erupting across the area during the afternoon and evening hours. You can expect this pattern to continue for pretty much the whole week.

Our Charlie Obaugh Skycam from Downtown Harrisonburg captured quite the site between 5:00pm, and about 5:30 p.m. Monday. This was not a severe storm but it was one of the more visually appealing storms of the day.

Storm west of Harrisonburg at 5:15 pm on July 6, 2020
Storm west of Harrisonburg at 5:15 pm on July 6, 2020(WHSV)

At 5:15 p.m., here’s a look at radar as the storm was over Rawley Springs, Clover Hill, and the Hinton area of western Rockingham county. You can see the corresponding view of the very heavy rain, or what’s called the rain shaft.

A timelapse of the thunderstorm captured it a few moments later as it moved north, if you look to the right side of the video you can see that burst of rain falling to the ground. That’s called a downburst. These are strong, localized downdrafts of the storm and can sometimes bring a rush of severe or high wind gusts. Damage from these downbursts are what we call straight-line wind damage. It’s the downdraft of a thunderstorm and in some cases can be extremely strong.

The only weather station in the area that really correspond well was on Hopkins Gap Rd. between Rt. 33 and Singers Glen. A peak gust at 18mph and a temperature drop of about 10° in 15 minutes as the storm passed. Rainfall in that storm was about 0.15″ to 0.50″.

Peak wind gust of 18mph and a 10 degree temperature drop with storm
Peak wind gust of 18mph and a 10 degree temperature drop with storm(Wundermap)

Downburst winds in storm can reach high speeds. In this storm that was not the case. However some downburst winds have been as strong as 60-100mph! In many cases it’s not just one powerful gust, but can be several downburst wind gusts. This is the most severe part of a thunderstorm.

The good news is that this storm was not severe, it was more picturesque but we were able to capture a really great image.

There were only a few damage reports, which is always a good thing. Some power outages were reported as well. Most of the reports were some trees down near Keezletown and Waynesboro. There was also some minor street flooding in Waynesboro.

Storm damage reports
Storm damage reports(WHSV)

You can always submit your storm reports to any of our Meteorologists, or upload your photos (only when it’s safe to do so) on or select the link below.

Please include approximate time of damage, and a detailed location. We always pass this information on to the National Weather Service

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