SALEM, Va. – You’ve likely seen brief, small dust devils on the playground, at a ball field, etc. Chances are, however, you haven’t seen one quite this strong and big before.
Amy Vizcarra sent us the video you see above of an insane dust devil at Hidden Valley Country Club in Salem Monday.
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At first, it was mistaken for a tornado. (You can understand why.) Tornadoes form at the base of a severe and rotating thunderstorm. You can see in this video that there’s no storm present.
Dust devils form when you first have air warming the surface. Warm air rises and cools, forming a very small area of low pressure. Surrounding air rushes toward the center of low pressure to essentially fill the void.
It then spins counter-clockwise, forming a dust devil. These sustain themselves until cooler air intrudes at the surface or until it runs into something like a fence, tree, hill, etc.
I’ve explained this picture-in-picture below.
INSANE video of a dust devil yesterday in Salem! Let's talk about how something like this can happen: pic.twitter.com/OnLLKEjMy6— Chris Michaels (@WSLS_Michaels) March 21, 2023