What is a downburst and how is it different than a tornado?
Most showers and thunderstorms produce downdrafts that descend toward the surface then move outward. In certain atmospheric environments, such as those that lead to severe thunderstorms, these downdrafts may be strong enough to cause damage at the surface, or interfere with the ascent/descent of aircraft, and are known as downbursts. A particularly brief, intense downburst that affects an area less than or equal to 4 km in diameter is known as a microburst. University of Chicago Professor Ted Fujita pioneered the downburst/microburst concept.
While the rotating winds of a tornado converge at the surface then rise up into the storm, often resulting in narrow paths of chaotic damage, downburst winds descend and diverge beneath the storm and result in outward burst patterns of damage or wide areas with damage mostly from the same direction. Multiple downbursts may also combine and help to organize squall lines, or even a phenomenon known as a derecho that causes widespread wind damage along a path hundreds of kilometres long.
For NTP to verify the occurrence of a downburst, there needs to be at least EF0 damage.