Wednesday morning, June 26 saw Darlington with downed trees throughout the city, damage to several cars and buildings, closed off streets and part of the city without power.
This was due to storm damage from the night before and into the early morning. Luckily no injuries were reported as a result of the storm.
The Darlington Police Department, Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, Darlington Fire Department, the Public Works Department and Lafayette County Highway Department were all working to assess damage, clean up the downed trees and reopen streets and highways on Wednesday morning.
Alliant Energy also had a number of crews out working on restoring power. According to the Darlington Police Department at approximately 5:20 a.m. on Wednesday morning, roughly 1/4 of the city was still without power.
Power was finally restored to the entire city by 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
There were several trees downed on vehicles and on structures and the Darlington Police Department reported that two cars were severely damaged; two cars had minor damage; one home was moderately damaged; one business was moderately damaged and dozens of homes and businesses received minor damage. It is likely that additional damage occurred, but not everything is reported to the police.
Financial estimates associated with the damage were not available as of Wednesday.
The damage was localized to the Darlington area, said the Darlington Police Department; all reports indicated little to no damage elsewhere in the county.
The National Weather Service reported the event as being a microburst. The observations of the local agencies involved with response and cleanup were consistent with that assessment.
According to the National Weather Service website, a microburst is a downdraft (sinking air) in a thunderstorm that is less than 2.5 miles in scale.
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.??
There are a handful of factors that cause microbursts to develop, including mid-level dry air entrainment, cooling beneath the thunderstorm cloud base, sublimation (occurs when the cloud base is above the freezing level), and the existence of rain and/or hail within the thunderstorm.
Some microbursts are driven by a combination of these factors while others may only be driven by one factor. Due to this, microbursts can be subdivided into three primary types-wet, dry, and hybrid.
Cooling beneath the thunderstorm cloud base and sublimation are the primary forcing mechanisms with dry microbursts. Dry microbursts typically occur with very little precipitation at the surface or aloft, hence the dry type.
Wet microbursts, on the other hand, are primarily driven by entrainment of mid-level dry air and precipitation loading.
Hybrid microbursts possess characteristics of both wet and dry microbursts. They are forced in the mid-levels by dry air entrainment and/or precipitation loading and in the low-levels by cooling beneath the cloud base and/or sublimation.