Damage result of straight-line winds

Published 11:52 am Monday, December 31, 2012

Strong storms on Christmas Day toppled a barn on Mashville Road. Officials with the National Weather Service believe the damage was done by straight-line winds.

A severe weather system that passed through Butler County on Christmas Day was not accompanied by a tornado, according to officials with the National Weather Service.

“At this time the National Weather Service feels that it was straight-line winds that came through the county, but they are still doing preliminary damage reports,” Butler County EMA Director Shirley Sandy said.

Straight-line winds, also known as thundergusts, are very strong winds that can produce damage, but do not demonstrate a rotational damage pattern. Such rotational damage patterns are associated with storms such as tornadoes. Straight-line winds are common with the gust front of a thunderstorm or originate with a downburst from a thunderstorm. These events can cause considerable damage, even in the absence of a tornado. The winds can reach 80 mph or more and can last for periods of twenty minutes or longer.

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In Butler County, the storm resulted in a death after it blew a tree into a home on Country Lane in Georgiana. The 81-year-old man who was injured during the storm later died at the hospital.

The storm also toppled a barn on Mashville Road, and also cause damage to the roof of a home on Highway 10 East.

According to The Weather Channel, the Christmas Day storms produced 40 tornadoes from Texas to Alabama.