An unusually large dust devil was caught on video as it swept down Shuswap Avenue in Chase on April 24.
“It was very large. It probably went up to 80 or 90 feet we figure,” said Todd Finn who witnessed the towering funnel of dust along with his son Cole and his friend Marvin Knorr.
Finn said it was a calm and sunny spring day when all of a sudden a gust of wind carried enough dust into the air that they mistook it for smoke. Before long, the dust had formed into a swirling column starting in the parking lot of the Chase Pharmasave. Todd said it lasted more than six minutes before dissipating.
Cole captured the dust devil on a cell phone camera as the trio watched from safely down the street.
Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist for Environment Canada based in Kelowna said dust devils are both a sure sign of spring and a reminder to clean dust from our streets, driveways and parking lots.
Lundquist said the dust devils are caused by the already-powerful spring sun warming the cool ground. If the rising disturbance in the air picks up dust or other debris its swirling shape is clearly visible. He said the dust devil in Chase appeared particularly large because of the amount of debris it carried as it passed over the dusty parking lot.
The particulate matter thrown into the air by dust devils is not good for people’s health if breathed in so Lundquist said they serve as a good prompt to get sweeping.