One of our KWWL viewers, Morgan LaRue, caught a photo of a dust devil just before 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon near Chickasaw, on the Chickasaw/Bremer County border. Here is her description of what happened:
Yes, it does look ominous, but these tend to occur in open spaces and rarely cause any damage. Morgan tells us that the dust devil let up as it crossed the roadways, but then picked back up again in another field.
How did this happen? We’ve had a very warm weekend, with temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s. As we know, darker surfaces absorb more heat, so as the sun shined on the bare soil, the soil heated up quicker than the surrounding environment (just above the surface). So, the air was forced to rise and swirls of wind picked up the dirt and caused the rotating column of dust you see in the picture above.
These are different from tornadoes, as tornadoes come from a funnel clouds, and are far more violent. While this particular dust devil caused no damage or injury and many dust devils that occur generally don’t, that hasn’t been the case with others.
This post was written by Kyle Kiel on April 17, 2016