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Smoke or dust devil? Mysterious column rises from West Kelowna hillside

Smoke or dust devil?

Cindy White

Was it smoke or a dust devil?

An unexplained column of air or debris was seen rising from a hillside over West Kelowna Monday afternoon.

At first it appears black or dark grey and then faded to lighter grey before dissipating.

Castanet contacted Environment Canada, but meteorologist Derek Lee could not confirm if it was in fact a small whirlwind.

“Generally for dust devils, they can occur on mainly sunny days. I do see some cloud in the area but I do see some blue sky. So if it were to be hot enough, the ground actually can produce a dust devil, but usually when we see dust devils they’re on pretty sunny days,” explained Lee.

It was quite windy at the time that the potential whirlwind was spotted, shortly before 1 p.m., but the temperature was below 20 C.

“How it works is that dust devils, if the air on the ground gets heated up really fast, and it starts rising, A lot more air kind of rushing up and it kind of ascends as a column of air,” said Lee.

“In this case I can’t say it’s not but it could be just a little smoke stream.”

West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund said he had not received any reports from the public about the strange sight but added that the winds are making a lot of dust from ash in areas burned by the McDougall Creek wildfire.

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