Families get close up look at dust devil in Jack Seaton Park

Large dust devil in park

Cindy White

A large and spectacular dust devil was captured on video by at least three people Sunday morning at Jack Seaton Park in Lake Country.

Autumn Rolfe was at the park with her husband Chris, and their kids when the weather phenomenon occurred. Chris videotaped the event, as did another woman who was in the park at the same time.

It shows the narrow spout swirling up from the parking lot area, reaching several metres into the sky. Autumn says she’s lived in the Central Okanagan her whole life and this was the first dust devil she’s seen, although she has witnessed water spouts on the lake in the past.

Doreen Lambert lives across the street. She walks her dog in the park twice a day and had just returned home when she spotted the dust devil through the trees.

“My dog wanted to sit outside still. So, I got my chair and sat down and went…(I think I swore). I went, holy crap! What the heck is that?” said Lambert.

She ran in the house to get her phone. She managed to capture the end of the swirling dust column. She says it was quite big and went on for quite a while.

“It was whipping. I posted it on my own Facebook page and my sister said is that smoke? Because that’s what it looked like. It looked like almost like, if you could imagine a release of gas. Like something was blowing. That’s kind of what it looked like,” Lambert describes.

Dust devils can develop in the summer in the BC Southern Interior, especially on hot, sunny days, like it was on Sunday.

“The ground warms up the air and locally it becomes very unstable. There’s going to be the creation of a rapidly rising pocket of air and its going to start rotating, creating these dust devils” explains Environment Canada Meteorologist Louis Kohanyi.

He says once the pocket of warm air is depleted, the dust devil will dissipate.

Kohanyi adds that dust devils are very different than tornados, which form out of cumulonimbus clouds, but they can still cause minor damage to structures if they are particularly powerful.

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