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Thunderstorm blows down large trees around Boise. More storms pack a punch Friday

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A microburst associated with thunderstorms passing through the Treasure Valley on Thursday night blew down an estimated 15 to 20 large trees in southeast Boise, and at least 100 others had significant damage.

One of those trees — a 60-foot honeylocust — landed on top of the home of Jay Breidenbach, warning-coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Boise.

“I don’t think it’s too bad. We’re going to call the insurance company,” Breidenbach told the Statesman in a phone interview Friday morning. He wasn’t home when the tree fell on a one-story section of his two-story house.

A microburst is an intense downdraft. Wind speeds in microbursts can reach up to 100 miles per hour, the Weather Service says.

“We’ve got some shingles that were damaged, and the gutter is torn up a little bit,” he said. “The roof wasn’t leaking.”

There were 990 cloud-to-lightning strikes in the eastern Oregon-Treasure Valley region, including 25 in Ada County.

More thunderstorms are on the way Friday morning, and they are expected to last into the afternoon. There will be lightning and wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.

“We think it’s going to produce some brief, heavy rain,” Breidenbach said.

Here’s the good news for those planning outdoor activities tonight, such as the Boise State University football home opener at 7 p.m.

“We think it’s going to be cleared out before the game,” Breidenbach said.

Temperatures in Boise on Friday will reach the mid-80s. It will be about 80 at kickoff, and cool off to about 70 by the end of the game.

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A large spruce fell across Fallingbrook Drive in Southeast Boise on Thursday night. Jay Breidenbach National Weather Service

Breidenbach said he wasn’t aware of any injuries as a result of the downed trees Thursday night. Some of those trees were near the soccer field behind Timberline High School.

Assistant City Forester Mike Andrews said much of the tree damage was in the Gekeler Lane and Linden Avenue area.

“I couldn’t count the number of trees but it’s a lot,” said Andrews, who estimated more than 100 trees had significant damage. He said it seemed like every single tree car removal company in the Treasure Valley was over there to clean up trees and debris Friday.

Timberline High School.JPG
Trees along an athletic field at Timberline High School were toppled over by storm winds Thursday night. Jay Breidenbach National Weather Service

Winds at the airport topped out at 53 miles per hour at the airport at 8 p.m., as the storm passed through. Breidenbach said the wind speeds in the microburst were likely much stronger than that.

Only a trace of rain was measured at the airport during the storm, but .16 inches was recorded by resident in southeast Boise.

“It fell really fast,” Breidenbach said. “There was quite a bit of water in the streets. If that much drops in 5 minutes, that’s really coming down.”

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