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Kelowna  

Blown away by whirlwind

Alanna Kelly

Kelowna residents were blown away by a whirlwind on Saturday.

Figuratively.

A video taken from an Orchard Park Shopping Centre parking lot shows a defined dust devil spiralling multiple metres into the air.

“This is so nuts,” said Nicki Kobasiuk.

Witnesses can be seen filming the whirlwind, which they originally thought was a ‘twister.’

Alyssa Charbonneau, senior meteorologist Environment Canada dust devils aren’t unheard of but typically happen on a hot summer day rather than in the middle of winter.

“It is something that would happen more likely on a hot day rather than the middle of winter,” she said. “Those aren’t exactly the conditions it would normally happen.”

Sun shining on the pavement and the cooler temperatures would have created the dust devil.

“Often what happens is there is a difference between hot air at the surface and cooler air a loft and that rising air with the conditions being just right you get a spinning column that spins for a little while and falls apart when the conditions are no longer just right.”

Most of the time dust devils area harmless but can be large enough to cause damage.

“There have been some that are big enough and strong enough that they would be able to cause a little bit of damage,” she said.

“This one was pretty defined, larger, things were blowing around,” she said.

Luckily, this one was only large enough to pick up some garbage on the ground.



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