Dust Devil Caught on Camera Is So Intense the Video Will Make Your Head Spin

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/Marco Di Fabio)

They vanish just as swiftly as they appear. And it’s unfailingly a mesmerizing sight when a dust devil forms out of the blue. One Twitter user caught the impressive outdoors moment one of these phenomena hit an area recently, showing off some massive force. As it tossed up the dirt, twirling about in between vehicles, truck beds, and buildings.

Sometimes, dust devils are small and super quick. Other times, they gain more density and travel on the ground, tossing up dirt and debris as it goes. This video shows us the latter as the intense phenomenon spins so fiercely that it almost makes our heads spin! Take a peak at the wild video below:

The intense video is less than 10 seconds long. However, what we see in this short amount of time is nothing short of mesmerizing. We are thankful that, while the intense event does move around, it stays away from some of the potentially deadly debris that could easily be within this dust devil’s path.

What Is A Dust Devil?

While dust devils may look like another weather phenomenon, the tornado, they are very different. Part of what makes these two events so different is what comes into play as each is formed.

According to experts, a dust devil is simply a swirling column of air. They are typically much smaller than the average tornado. And, despite the intensity of the one above, dust devils are usually much weaker than the average tornado. These events usually have a diameter of between 10 and 300 feet. They can stretch as high as 500 to 1000 feet upward.

Unlike a tornado which forms in thunderstorm weather, a dust devil forms under clear skies. Tornados develop in the sky and drop down. However, dust devils form in the ground and stretch up. The main ingredient needed to form these unique phenomena is heat. They occur when the sun heats the ground warmer than the air. When this happens, the air rises rapidly, creating a low-pressure area. The air then rushes in to fill out the low-pressure area. This increases the circulation which eventually intensifies into the classic dust devil.

Some of these swirling dust devils can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. This is no doubt enough speed to cause damage to smaller objects or even some structures. And, with the flying debris, it is very important to not be standing near one of these events as it occurs. These weather events begin to calm down after cooler air is pulled into circulation as the event dances about. When this happens, the circulation begins to slow, eventually ending the dust devel event.