Driver Captures ‘Dust Devil’ on Video in Indiana Cornfield
I'm no meteorologist, but I do find the weather to be fascinating. One day it can be perfectly sunny without a cloud in the sky and a light breeze, the next those two elements can come together to create a storm strong enough to uproot massive trees and level buildings. I mean, the fact that microscopic bits of moisture can bond together to form a cloud is pretty incredible if you stop and think about it. And, if enough of those teeny, tiny particles mash together the weight they create becomes too much for the cloud to hold and they fall to the ground in the form of rain. It's just wild to me. The weather can also put on a relatively harmless show as it did in a cornfield in Wells County, Indiana just south of Fort Wayne earlier this week when a stiff breeze whipped up a small dust devil.
What is a Dust Devil?
The National Weather Service's glossary of weather terms, a dust devil is defined as,
A small, rapidly rotating wind that is made visible by the dust, dirt or debris it picks up. Also called a whirlwind, it develops best on clear, dry, hot afternoons
How Does a Dust Devil Form?
The conditions have to be just right for a dust devil to form. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Flagstaff, Arizona where dust devils are more common due to the regular dry conditions, dust devils typically "occur under clear skies," and despite how it looks, a light wind. The NWS goes on to say they can form when "the ground can warm the air to temperatures well above the temperatures just above the ground." Of course, it also helps for the ground to be dry.
Unlike the one caught on video in Wells County, dust devils can be dangerous. Some have registered wind speeds of 60 miles per hour or more and can be as wide as 300 feet and as tall as 1,000 feet.
Fortunately, that wasn't the case with this particular devil posted on the Global HBI YouTube Channel. While it's hard to tell from the video, this one looks to be more in the 10 to 20 feet tall range and not strong enough to do any damage. It's just a small little thing dancing its way across a cornfield that I find fascinating to watch.
[Source: National Weather Service Glossary / National Weather Service, Flagstaff, AZ]