Dry microburst

Photo of dust apparently being lifted from the ground underneath the base of a locally developed large cumulus cloud which however never became a cumulonimbus and only produced light rain showers. This is a lithometeor of a mini dry microburst or a rather large dust devil as the surface dust never became connected with the cloud base. Though the mechanism behind the formation of microbursts and dust devils is very different, they produce a similar result of whirling dust but the former is more likely due to the presence of clouds in which the air could descend. As it was Summer, the ground was very dry (despite the previous night’s rare isolated thunderstorm). As per the fourth thumbnail, localized cumulus clouds developed on land from an easterly wind as the air was quite unstable awaiting the arrival of an unseasonable low pressure over the area. The first thumbnail depicts a chaotic sky of cumulus clouds whilst the second thumbnail depicts a single cumulus cloud. The third thumbnail is the weather sounding showing initial instability only to be capped by convective inhibition hence preventing the formation of thunderstorm clouds with heavy rainfall. The cloud base was estimated to be just around 335 metres.

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