What Is A Dust Devil?

Tools

By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - If you've ever driven in Eastern Washington on a warm, sunny day, and noticed what look like little tornadoes dancing around in the fields, those are known as dust devils.

Most commonly seen in flat, dry areas dust devils are like "mini tornadoes", only they're harmless. They're caused when you have hot air suddenly rising from warm ground. As this air rises, it can sometimes create a little vortex of swirling air, which can pick up nearby dust and dirt, giving it a brown tornado-like appearance.

Yet, unlike tornadoes, dust devils form from the ground up and its winds rarely reach over 30-60 mph, so they aren't damaging. However, if you get caught in one, you'll likely get a mouth and nose-full of dust.

Your Photos

YouNews Fire and Ice Sunrise in Poulsbo Fire and Ice Sunrise in Poulsbo
This was a once-in-a-lifetime shot of a brilliant sunrise on the water of Poulsbo. When I saw the pink light streaming into my window early that morning, I ran outside to capture this photo. Once I saw the photo, I realized that the sunrise created a fire and ice effect that was stunning.
YouNews Epic storm clouds over Kitsap County Epic storm clouds over Kitsap County
Driving toward Silverdale on Hwy 3, from brilliant fall sunshine, into this churning black storm, was unlike anything I've witnessed in Washington. Sheets of rain, gusts of wind, and a completely black sky overtook the area, while the periphery stayed sunny.