An intense dust devil ripped through a soccer match in Tlatlauqui, Mexico, earlier this month. The mini-cyclone wasn’t very wide, but it was powerful, pulling dust and debris in from across the field.
The players had to crouch down and cover their faces to prevent dust and sand from getting in their eyes, noses and mouths. Dust storms can do serious damage to your eyes if left unprotected.
Oddly, the weather needs to be pretty boring for dust devils to form — clear skies and light wind. They spin up when a pocket of hot air rises rapidly through the cooler surrounding air. The velocity of this rising motion causes the air column to stretch vertically, and it begins to spin thanks to the conservation of angular momentum. This is the same reason figure skaters spin faster when they pull their arms in toward their bodies.
As you can probably tell from this video, dust devils can get violent, sometimes reaching wind speeds of a weak tornado.