Powerful Dust Devil strikes near Pritchett, CO, May 25th - updated May 31st

During the afternoon of Friday, May 25th, a powerful dust devil struck just north of Pritchett, in Baca County.  At the time in the Pritchett area, there were few clouds in the sky, but there was much dust in the air.  Temperatures were in the lower 90s with relative humidity around 10 percent.  There was a south wind blowing across Baca County, gusting to over 30 mph in some areas.

While dust devils are common across southern Colorado, this one was quite powerful. It was around 80 feet wide and moved from south to north.  It destroyed an unoccupied 14' x 60' mobile home, lofting it a short distance into the air and crashing it to the ground. Debris was scattered a few hundred feet to the north.

In recent years, a powerful dust devil occurred on June 10th 2008, which caused structural damage to a church facility on the southwest side of Pueblo.  There may have been an isolated gust over 70 mph with the Pritchett event, which caused the EF0 damage.

Below is a photo of the destroyed mobile home, which was NOT tied down...and had some ways for air to enter the structure.

 - photo courtesy of Diane Visage


Below is a photo of damage (pieces of destroyed mobile home) near the dwelling of the residents.

  

  - photo courtesy of Diane Visage

Thankfully, no one was injured during the event.

It is important to know that, infrequently, dust devils can become powerful, and cause damage, injuries, and deaths.  In May, 2003, a man was killed in Maine by a dust devil, when a roof was damaged in a two-story building he was occupying.  In June, 2008, a woman in Casper, WY was killed by a dust devil after it toppled a shed she was using as a shelter from the winds.  When you see a dust devil do not drive or walk into it.  Flying debris is always a hazard, and in extreme cases, dust devils can damage and destroy structures, as this one did in Baca County.

- Updated by Tom Magnuson, WCM, 10:30 a.m., May 31st -

 

 



Return to News Archive

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.