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Video: A ‘dust devil’ mini-tornado hits wheat field in western France

The phenomenon was captured on video by two local residents, who called it ‘spectacular’, but a weather engineer has said the event is relatively common

A close up of wheat in a field

The ‘dust devil’ appeared above a freshly-cut wheat field in Loire-Atlantique, and is partly caused by hot and dry air Pic: ESB Professional / Shutterstock

A ‘dust devil’ has hit a village in Loire-Atlantique, with one couple managing to capture a video of the unusual sight.

The dust trail, which was whipped up into the air like a mini tornado, was seen above a freshly-cut wheat field near Châteaubriant (Loire-Atlantique) on July 28.

Pascale et Benoît Perchet, from the nearby village of Moisdon-la-Rivière, saw the spiral at around 14:30. 

Mr Perchet told local newspaper Ouest France: “It rose up into the clouds, in the form of a mushroom, 50 centimetres off the ground. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever seen that. It was spectacular.”

However, an engineer at forecaster Météo France said that the event was not such a rarity.

He said: “It’s quite a common phenomenon and we see it in France fairly regularly. It needs heat, or hot air, good sunshine, and very dry air.”

The weather event occurs when two neighbouring bits of the ground are heating up differently, and the atmosphere is unstable.

While it takes the form of a mini-tornado, the phenomenon is not a storm, and is more often known as a ‘dust devil’, which would translate to ‘tourbillon de poussière’ in French.

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