VIDEO: Dust devil appears in Oakland County

(WXYZ) - Below is some very cool video from James Frantz in Madison Heights of a dust devil.

A little background on this phenomenon: they are not associated with severe weather.

As a matter of fact, the sky is usually blue with full sunshine. The circulation starts at the ground and goes upward as opposed to a tornado where the circulation descends from a parent storm to the ground.

Light to nearly calm winds is favorable for dust devil formation so that strong heating of the air near the ground can occur. The sun angle this time of year is very strong allowing for a highly unstable atmosphere at lower levels.

Dust devils typically form along the intersection of varying surfaces types, like dirt and a field or dirt and asphalt.

Once the warm air starts rising, the air near it rushes to replace the initial updraft, which allows a spiral of hot air to swirl upwards with cooler air descending in the middle.

The column of air picks up any loose debris, like dirt and leaves. Dust devils can have winds speeds from 10 to 70 mph and even reach an EFO status on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Most last only a few minutes with the largest as long as a half hour or more.

 

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