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Owner’s reaction to a dust devil lifting their 70 pound dog

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:24 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - A dust devil formed in a neighborhood in Weyers Cave lifting a 70 pound dog briefly in the air a few feet off the ground.

A few dust devils formed in our area this week. On Thursday, the Hinton area in Rockingham County had a short-lived dust devil. We do have them here on occasion and the conditions have to be just right.

This dust devil formed Thursday in the Hinton area.
This dust devil formed Thursday in the Hinton area.(Brooke Pennybacker)

Video from Weyers Cave on Tuesday show a dust devil lifting a dog into the air! Look at the fuzzy area behind the flag. It lifted a 70 pound dog! The dog, Duke, is a lab and thankfully he’s okay. His owner, Brittany Wampler said she didn’t believe what happened at first!

“It’s still very tough to imagine that you know a 70 pound dog or close to it and how you know, you don’t see that every day. How would that have happened? He just kind of looked around and was shaken for a minute but you know he went right back to playing with the kids after that,” said Wampler.

So how do these dust devils form? On a day with a lot of sunshine and very light wind, warm air heats up and it starts to rise forming like a mini updraft. So it kind of forms an area of low pressure. The surrounding area rushes in to fill that void, to fill that low pressure and if you have just enough of a cross breeze, it can form an area of rotation and therefore we can have a dust devil.

A lot of times you have to have very dry weather and no rain for an extended period of time so we don’t see these very often, but they do happen on occasion.

Another dust devil occurred in 2017 from Page County in the Stanley area. Most of the time, dust devils are very weak, they don’t last very long. Sometimes, a few seconds to even a few minutes and they are usually more tall and skinny. They’re not very wide, but they can be hundreds of feet tall or even thousands of feet tall in some cases but that’s also kind of rare. So you never know. Sometimes when we have a persistent dry spell, you may encounter a dust devil.

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