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[doun-burst] /ˈdaʊnˌbɜrst/
a strong downward current of air from a cumulonimbus cloud, often associated with intense thunderstorms.
Origin of downburst
down1 + burst Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for downburst
  • downburst winds can smash buildings and easily uproot trees and are often mistaken for tornadoes.
  • In some cases, these visual cues may be the only significant clue that a downburst is imminent.
  • The output from the algorithm indicates either a prediction or detection of a downburst event and an estimate of its strength.
  • The hail swath is nearly parallel to the swath of damaging downburst winds.
  • As the thunderstorm began to decay, a strong downburst occurred.
  • However, severe thunderstorms produce the added hazards of damaging downburst winds and large hail.
British Dictionary definitions for downburst


a very high-speed downward movement of turbulent air in a limited area for a short time. Near the ground it spreads out from its centre with high horizontal velocities Also called microburst
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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downburst in Science
An extremely powerful downward air current from a cumulonimbus cloud, typically associated with thunderstorm activity. Downbursts can produce effects that resemble those brought about by tornadoes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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