Iowa: Home of the Forbidden Sunny Skies Tornado?
Things happen in Iowa that don't happen other places. There's video proving this point as someone on TikTok shared the not-very-rare in Iowa forbidden sunny skies tornado.
No, this isn't really a tornado. Dust devil, street twister or whatever. There are better meteorological terms for what was just shared on TikTok, but the user's description of the "forbidden sunny skies tornado" made me laugh.
@iowachillThe forbidden sunny skies tornado ##fyp♬ original sound - Iowa Chill
Since my wife is a meteorologist, I felt like I should provide the science of what's really happening here before she makes me sit in the no-no chair. Despite her desire for me to make the phrase "street twister" popular, dust devil is probably the phrase most often used to describe this phenomenon. Here's a snippet of what makes these happen here in Iowa so often direct from the Wikipedia definition:
Dust devils form when a pocket of hot air near the surface rises quickly through cooler air above it, forming an updraft. If conditions are just right, the updraft may begin to rotate. As the air rapidly rises, the column of hot air is stretched vertically, thereby moving mass closer to the axis of rotation, which causes intensification of the spinning effect by conservation of angular momentum.
I have no idea what that means. All I know for sure is that it looks like a mini-tornado, but isn't. It isn't likely to harm you or your possessions, but it can seriously mess up your hair on a sunny Iowa day. That's for sure.