I was outside for my afternoon walk on Thursday when I saw an interesting phenomena. I try and get away from my desk and computer mid-morning and mid-afternoon to stretch the legs and get some fresh air. There is a lot of parking area behind our building and a number of vacant buildings in the complex which makes for a nice stroll. I had just started out on this nice warm sunny day when I noticed a number of papers swirling around about a quarter mile away. The papers were several hundred feet up in the air going around in a big circle and climbing.
I stopped and watched it for a bit then realized it was coming my way. Immediately, I was faced with one of those annoying decisions… should I go on or turn back? As it came across the parking area it started picking up quite a bit more loose sand and dirt and I could tell I was definitely in the way of it’s path. For a dust devil it was not very well defined but with the sand and dirt it was at least visible. It went up and over the nearest building and as it came down the other side it flipped over a double-size steel dumpster and picked up a bunch more sand.
I was suddenly convinced of the correct course of action. I knew I would not make it back to our building but the parked cars were not too far away so I trotted over and crouched down beside the Jeep and closed my eyes as it went through. It passed by about twenty yards away and I got pelted pretty good with sand. It reminded me of our trip to the Great Sand Dunes several years ago. First time I’ve ever seen or experienced a dust devil. It was pretty cool.