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This Bizarre Natural Phenomenon In Arizona Is Both Mesmerizing And Terrifying 

Even though the calendar says that spring is only just starting, we Arizonans know that the season has been in full force for some time now. In fact, summer is just around the corner (let’s pause for a collective groan from half the state) but you know what? That also means our summer storms are also on their way and hopefully they’re less of a disappointment than this year’s El Niño storms.

In fact, I think we’re all pretty familiar with what those storms typically look like.

Beautiful, right? We all know these summer storms bring some crazy weather and sometimes that includes microbursts, or what some call “rain bombs.” These are sudden, extremely powerful wind currents that occur during intense thunderstorms, much like the ones we see in the summer, and can cause major damage to buildings, trees, and even aircraft. They occur when cool air rushes from the clouds down to a much warmer surface.

Here’s a diagram of what a wet microburst looks like in which you can see the “bomb” effect they have.

And here’s an example of what one microburst did in the White Mountains a few years ago. According to the photographer, a microburst snapped some trees at their weak points and ripped others from the ground.

Pretty crazy, huh? Wet versions are a little more rare here in Arizona, (typically the ones reported are dry versions that are often described as similar to a momentous tornado,) but one photographer captured such an event in Tucson last year. Check out the video below to see it in action.

The original video, posted on the video-sharing site Vimeo, also shows the rain bomb in action at the 13 second mark.

Have you seen a microburst or “rain bomb” here in Arizona? What other crazy events have you seen occur in nature?

Monica Spencer
Monica is a Diné freelance writer and the Arizona staff writer for Only In Your State. In addition to writing, she also enjoys taking photos, running, and weaving. She currently lives in Phoenix with her boyfriend and their herd of cats.