VIDEO: Unbelievable dust devil “chases” motorist

A massive dust devil spun up in the desert Southwest on Tuesday and at least one motorist got the twister on video.

Lance Brown was driving in Scottsdale, Ariz., when the powerful whirlwind spun dirt and debris high into the sky.

Arizona has been suffering widespread severe and exceptional drought, so there was plenty of dust to go around.

Dust devils form when hot air near the surface rises quickly through cooler air above it. That forms an updraft, similar to thunderstorms, and creates the spinning column of air.

Screen grab of video captured by Lance Brown.

Video: West Palm Beach twister, but was it a tornado?

Palm Beach Post reader Lynda Abreu sent in this video she took Saturday of a twister kicking up west of Florida’s Turnpike near West Palm Beach.

But was it a tornado or a dust devil?

According to the National Weather Service in Miami, it was a dust devil, and here’s why.

“We can say will almost absolute certainty that it didn’t extend into the cloud,” said Robert Molleda, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS in Miami. “Therefore, it’s a dust devil, which is not a tornado.”

Tornadoes have rotations that extend from cloud to ground.

Dust devils grow from the ground up.

As the sun heats a piece of land hotter than surrounding areas Рsuch as blacktop or dry dirt hard pack Рair rises faster in that spot, forming a micro area of low pressure that spins counterclockwise.

If winds pick up, they can push the area of low pressure along, where it picks up small debris – dust and leaves – which make it resemble a tornado.

The American Meteorology Society notes that dust devils are typically not as strong as even the weakest tornadoes, but in some situations can cause damage up to an EF-0 rating with winds between 65 mph to 85 mph.

Screen grab of video sent in by Palm Beach Post reader Lynda Abreu