Now a lot of weird weather has splashed headlines recently–Supermoons , droughts, even rumors of a Polar Vortex September visit–but none of it seems so insane compared to a Dust Devil landing in your own backyard.
The incident happened around 3pm Sunday, when a mini-twister landed right in the middle of McCarren Park’s baseball field, interrupting a game. Michael Gambale of Greenpoint, who captured the event on video, told the Daily News, “It lasted like two minutes. It was so quick…I’ve lived in Greenpoint for five years and I’ve never seen something like this.”
Despite the Dust Devil’s menacing appearance, there were plenty of people too cool to care about Mother Nature’s fury. Some loungers seemed peeved, others chose to ignore it, and a few brave souls threw caution to the wind and jumped right inside.
So what the hell is a Dust Devil? For starters, it is not a tornado. While some Dust Devils have been known to pack a punch or even kill a skydiver, mainly it is a mini-weather pattern that typically forms on nice warm sunny days.
The people at NASA, who seem to know a thing or two about weather patterns, say a Dust Devil is created when ground temperatures are hotter than the air above. As the hot air quickly rises through a small pocket of cooler air sitting above, a spiral may form at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. The funnel’s diameter can range between 10 to 100ft in width and has an average height of 650 ft. Greenpoint’s spiral clocked in around 20ft in height, making it more of a little devil then anything else.
While it’s not exactly a rarity, a Dust Devil is reported in the area about once a year. “It’s an item of curiosity,” said Bill Goodman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s New York office. “These things don’t happen very often, especially not in the middle of New York.”