After a storm cell rolls through an area that has sustained wind damage, many often confuse the wind damage associated with severe thunderstorms as tornadic activity. Happening year round with any thunderstorm, straight-line winds are more common in the Southeast than tornadoes.
Responsible for most thunderstorm damage, straight-line winds can cause ordinary objects to become air-born missiles. These winds can down trees, power lines, overturn mobile homes and cause damage to well-built structures with winds reaching 100 to 150 mph.
Another deadly form of non-tornadic but damaging straight-line winds are downbursts. A downburst refers to a very small area of rapidly descending air beneath a thunderstorm that strikes the ground, producing isolated areas of significant damage from high wind. The loud roar also associated with these blasts could be confused as a tornado.