BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Dust Devil is a strong, yet short-lived, whirlwind of vertically orientated rotating column of air. Typical diameter is 10 feet with an average height of 500 to 1000 feet. The average average wind speed is 45 miles per hour.
They are often compared to tornadoes, but dust devils are much weaker and develop under sunny conditions on quiet weather days. Tornadoes develop in supercell thunderstorms and produce extensive damage.
For a dust devil to develop you need mostly sunny skies, light winds and a ground temperature that is much warmer than the surrounding air temperature. The best time for dust devils to develop is between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is the most intense. Typically they occur on dirt roadways or parking lots.