A dust devil terrorizes the Canary Islands

LANZAROTE, Canary Islands – Canary Island residents were shocked as they watched a dust devil loom high above them on Saturday.

Mother Nature unleashed her fury on one of Spain’s islands off northwestern Africa, bringing funnel clouds, heavy rain, large hail and violent lightning. 

The weather phenomenon shocked residents

The impressive beast was captured on video by a man who pulled over his car.

“A storm blew over with intense thunder, lightning and large hail stones,”Charlie Fayers, a resident of Storyful. “During the storm, several tornadoes broke out across the island.”

He wasn’t the only one who misidentified the dust devil.

“Very few tornadoes hit the Canaries each year, so obviously, we don’t have much experience of them,”A resident wrote the following in an online forum about weather. “In the forum where I showed this footage, some people don’t believe that it’s a real tornado, but I’m sure that it is.”

What’s a dust devil?

Although dust devils can be tornadoes but aren’t, When the sun heats up a spot of ground more than another, dust devils grow and cause air to quickly rise. 

The mountainous island doesn’t see many dust devils or tornadoes.
Charlie Fayers via Storyful

A rising column of air may be affected by different winds at different elevations. The spinning column collects dirt and other debris on the surface.

Dust devils are generally smaller and less intense than a tornado, according to the National Weather Service. These dust devils can be found from 10 to 300 feet in size and extend 500 to 1000 feet high into the sky. 

They can do serious damage, even though not classified as tornadoes.

Spotted a funnel cloud on the Canary Islands

Another resident also caught the funnel cloud that day.

The surface heat causes the air to rise, forming clouds that have up and down drafts. The column can be made to rotate by wind, just like a dustdevil. Winds increase in height and blow from different directions.

In certain light, it is tough to tell the funnel is filled with tell-tale dirt.
Under certain conditions, you can see that the funnel has dirt.
Charlie Fayers via Storyful

Rotation can become too concentrated to form a column of extremely rotating air. The funnel cloud is a result of this.

It can become a tornado if the funnel cloud is too far down to reach the ground.

Spain’s meteorological agency issued yellow weather warnings for the island on Saturday.

The full article is available here here

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