"It's very difficult to measure these storms," said Tim Axford, a meteorologist at the Weather Service's office in Charleston.
"Last night's storm was on a very isolated, very microscopic scale. It impacted some residents, but we also had some employees just down the road who only experienced winds of 25 to 30 miles an hour. It just shows that it was on a very localized scale."
Axford said storms of this kind are uncommon in the state, with only one or two microbursts reported each year in Kanawha and surrounding counties.
While microbursts are capable of causing damage similar to tornadoes, they usually do not last long -- the damage caused Wednesday took less than 10 minutes, according to Ballard.
The removal of the tree happened almost as quickly -- Ballard's neighbors and fellow residents worked to clear it to allow access to the only entrance her mother is capable of using.
"My husband, our neighbor and his friends all came over with chainsaws and cleared the tree," Fuller said. "We had so many people come out and help. Our neighbors just came together."
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.