Nature is an interesting thing. With the hot, dry summer here, you're always warned to keep your eyes open for certain weather events. One you sometimes don't see but happen regularly is Dust Devils.

Every time I see these (usually harmless) weather events, I always think about the Looney Toons character "Tasmanian Devil" that comes spinning into each cartoon-like a real-life Dust Devil.

Usually, a Dust Devil lasts up to 5 minutes and doesn't cause much damage. On rare occasions, the Dust Devils can grow enough to cause damage to people or property and last up to 10 minutes. They occur when warm air on the ground begins to rise and meets the cooler air above causing an updraft. When the hot air stretches it begins the spinning process like a tornado would.  Walking through a Dust Devil would feel like a strong gust of warm/dusty wind.

Recently, DayWeather Podcast Video posted a video of a Dust Devil over the Mullen Fire burn area. In this particular case, when the warm air started spinning and rising, it picked up ash from the burn site and caused a very interesting scenario where you could actually see the air moving because of the black ash.

The website WildFire Today explains that if a Dust Devil actually developed over an active fire, the possibility of seeing a rarely seen fire tornado would be higher.

The National Weather Service distributed this graphic of how an actual Dust Devil develops and what it takes to make it grow.

Formation of a dust devil
Reno NWS via Facebook

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