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Dust Devils: Small one seen in The Flatwoods, downtown

Creates attention, but causes no damage
No local photo of phenomenon, so far

By Ed Waggener

A small dust devil (Wikipedia: Dust Devils) swept through downtown Flatwoods yesterday afternoon, Saturday, July 7, 2012, grabbing the attention of many, but, as with most dust devils, (aka dustnado) it caused no damage beyond putting more particulates in the air.

It was gone before cameras could be drawn from holsters.



The dust devil reminded Louis Williams, the resident Sage and North Carolina Irish Mountain Man of The Flat Woods, of the legend of Pecos Bill, and the time he lassooed the tornado and what all damage the tornado did while his captive.

Dust devils are sort of inverted tornados, coming from updrafts rather than downward funnel clouds like tornadoes, which may be why the inverted mind of Louis Williams made the connection so quickly, and so quickly referenced the fakelore of Edward J. O'Reilly, another Irishman, but one from Texas, not North Carolina, as Irishman Louis Williams is.

The dust devils do look a little like tornadoes once on the ground, though they are rarely as ornery. According to Wikipedia, they have at times become powerful to cause serious mischief, such as lifting a bouncy house with three kids in it over a fence (they weren't hurt), and really powerful ones have even caused fatalities

Billy Neat, who was in town for a break from working in the heat to pamper his cows said that he had seen a huge Dust Devil in The Flatwoods which moved across the flat land between the store and Hughes Road which may have reached 60 feet in diameter. Not a big enough Dust Devil for The World Record Book of Guinnesses, but big enough to be forever remembered.

As best we can tell, Dust Devils have an affinity for the more plains-like terrain - The Flatwoods and other Texas-like areas of Adair County such as The Millerfields, and the flatlands like they have in Sano and Russell County.

With the Heat Wave, Dust Devils seem to be more prevalent than at other times. We're hoping someone may have or get a photograph of one in this area of Kentucky, along with real enlightenment on the whole subject. - EW


This story was posted on 2012-07-08 08:45:47
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