Caught on camera: Dust devil stirs up in southern Ontario

Dust devils are typically harmless but should be avoided when possible.

Check out this impressive video, filmed earlier this week in West Lincoln, Ontario. In it, a dust devil can be seen swirling up debris.

While dust devils may resemble tornadoes, they form under different circumstances and are normally less destructive.

Tornados typically develop under rotating thunderstorms, but dust devils materialize when there are clear skies and warm temperatures. When cold air moves aloft over the region and there is strong sunlight hitting the surface, it can cause rapid heating at the ground level, leading to a strong updraft that can pick up dust and rotate.

"Wednesday started cool in southern Ontario, but due to a lack of clouds in the afternoon, the ground warmed up fast, giving rise to the perfect conditions to produce dust devils. The dirt ground of the construction area was ideal for the dust devil to be visible," explains Weather Network meteorologist Mark Robinson.

"For it to be as vigorous as it was, all the meteorological elements had to be balanced perfectly, which is a rare situation!"

Dust devils aren't typically associated with significant property damage or injury, but the risk is always there. For that reason, they should be avoided whenever possible.