It was whirlwind afternoon on Monday — literally — with two dust devils spotted near Brooks, Alta.
One dust devil spun up the football field at Brooks Junior High School at around 3 p.m.
Sadie Seitz is a student at the school and captured a video of the dust devil on her cellphone.
“I was so surprised that Mother Nature could create such a thing,” she said.
Dust devils are a common sight in Alberta throughout the spring months and are usually small, weak and short-lived.
Kyle Cleary Fougère, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said in the spring, the sun starts to gain strength and the ground is typically quite dry and lacking in vegetation, which allows it to heat up quickly.
“When this happens, the air near the surface can rise very quickly, stretching the column of air and creating the spin that results in a dust devil.”
Watch below: dust devils captured in Alberta
Another dust devil was spotted near Rainer, Alta., at around 2 p.m on Monday.
Jason Lockyer spotted the tube of swirling air and, although it looks similar to a landspout tornado, Environment Canada confirmed it was a dust devil.
Tornado vs dust devil
To be classified as a tornado, there has to be circulation in the cloud and on the ground.
A landspout tornado is created by heat rising from the surface and updrafts. It starts at the ground and can build up towards the cloud, although rarely fully connecting. These tornadoes are usually weak and cause minor damage.
A supercell tornado is created by a supercell or severe thunderstorm. The cell forms a wall cloud, which lowers towards the surface and produces a tornado. These tornadoes can be intense, dangerous and cause a lot of damage.
Dust devils form when warm, surface air rises quickly into cooler air above, producing a column of spinning air. The circulation is only at the surface and there is no connection with a cloud, therefore it is not classified as a tornado.
Dust devils are typically weaker than tornadoes but they can become strong enough to toss around unsecured objects.
Watch below: dust devils caught on camera across the world
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