Large-Scale Dust Devil Hits Local Neighborhood

Local News

A small neighborhood in Sayre was shocked yesterday when they heard what sounded like a freight train moving through the area.

Around 4:30 Thursday evening residents near Clinton Street in Sayre were enjoying the outdoors when suddenly the winds started to pick up.

“It was really loud,” resident Melissa Pollock said. “Just the wind coming through the house, you could hear the house creaking and moving. That was what really made me get nervous, because you know that wind has got to be pretty strong.”

What was described as a large dust devil caused damage to the roof and siding of one house, as well as to the garage of a neighbor.

The wind was so bad that it picked up a trailer about 12 feet in the air, spun it around, hitting the garage door and finally landing about 25 feet away in the yard.

One neighbor, Karen Lane, was able to catch this somewhat rare event on camera.

“We watched the leaves blow around,” Lane said. “The debris, we noticed by then that shingles and sidings from people’s homes from that side of the street were flying through the air.”

A typical dust devil can last up to a minute or less. This one, on the other hand, lasted for a few minutes longer.

“It cut across and up the tree line and actually finished over across the street from here,” Lane said.

Meteorologist Joanne LaBounty from the National Weather Service in Binghamton says winds with a typical dust devil max out around 45 mph. After watching the video, she says this particular one may have reached around 60 mph.

With the flat surfaces of the area, and the light winds, and clear skies from that evening these were great setting factors to produce this somewhat rare event.

“Typically we see these develop in the spring and in the fall when you still have a cooler atmosphere above the surface,” LaBounty said. “You have some sunshine that comes out and you have some heating that goes on, but it is still cooler up above.”

What happened with this particular large dust devil is seen most commonly out in the desert area. Although uncommon in our area, this is not the first time it has happened.

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