'Dust devils' are usually small and relatively harmless, but a recent occurrence at a skate park in the town of Fairfield, California tore roof sections off a building and scattered large debris while apparently spinning a bystander around. Remarkably, no one was injured by flying objects that were lifted and flung many feet. Despite headlines, the man who appeared to be caught in the center looks as if he is having fun with the phenomenon and could have run for cover if he chose to do so.
Dust devils are caused by rising air that begins to rotate, drawing in more hot air from the surrounding area, and rapidly developing into a large column which can be seen when dirt and other debris are drawn into the vortex. They rarely exceed a few feet in diameter and usually do not exhibit winds in excess of 45 miles per hour, although some have caused extensive property damage and even a few deaths. Two children were killed and 20 bystanders were injured when an inflatable castle was lifted into the air in the Chinese province of Henan on March 31, 2019.