FOUR massive dust devils within a week on Canadian soil
Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 12:28 PM - In just over a week's time, we've seen captivating video of not one, not two or three but FOUR powerful dust devils ripping through parts of Alberta and Ontario. What's interesting is that three of these instances happened over baseball diamonds, which were heavily populated with players and spectators at the time. Wondering what's happening to create the perfect "breeding grounds" for these vortices to form? Our expert explains, PLUS gives some safety tips on how to handle them, below.
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"While a dust devil certainly looks like a tornado, it forms under very different conditions," says Weather Network meteorologist Erin Wenckstern. "A tornado typically forms underneath a rotating thunderstorm, whereas warm temperatures and fair skies are the breeding grounds for dust devils."
WATCH THIS: MASSIVE DUST DEVIL TAKES OVER BASEBALL FIELD IN BARRIE, ONTARIO - MAY 13
As hot pockets of air at the surface rapidly rise into cooler air aloft, a vertical vortex of air develops.
"The stronger the temperature contrast from the ground to air above, the more intense a dust devil can become," Wenckstern adds. "As the air rushes into the updraft from its surrounding area, dust, and even objects, can get pulled into the vortex and become projectiles."
For the most part, dust devils are harmless, but on the odd occasion can become intense and cause injury or damage and therefore it's best to stay clear as their movements and strength can quickly change, Wenckstern warns.
WOW! INTENSE DUST DEVIL RIPS THROUGH VULCAN, ALBERTA - MAY 5
ANOTHER DUST DEVIL IN ALBERTA. THIS TIME, BLACKFALDS - MAY 13
NOT OVER A BASEBALL DIAMOND, BUT STILL IMPRESSIVE IN DALUM, ALBERTA - MAY 15
THE SEASONAL DIVIDE OF "DEVILS:" A SNOW DEVIL EXPLAINED
A snow devil, obviously more typical of a winter season, is essentially, a whirling column of snow.
"Snow devils form when very dry snow is picked up by gusty winds, creating a vortex that looks a lot like a tornado and can significantly reduce visibility," Wenckstern says.
Brett Soderholm, another meteorologist at The Weather Network actually captured a snowboarder who was seen disappearing into a snow-nado in Lake Louise last March. Incredible.