A ‘twister’ lasting a few minutes was caught on camera at Ravulapalem of East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. The narrow rotating column of air carrying up dust was spotted along the Ravulapadu National Highway and several bystanders took videos and shared them on social media. The officials of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in Amaravati termed the weather event as a ‘dust devil,’ which is not the same as a tornado.
Speaking to TNM, S Stella, Director of IMD Amaravati said that such dust devil are common before thunderstorms or squalls. “These are not tornados, nor can they be called spouts, which occur more often over water bodies. Dust devil are a common occurrence and observed shortly before a thunderstorm, the maximum wind speed of these columns will be 50 to 60 KMPH and they are short-lived,” the officer said.
A tornado had hit West Bengal’s Hooghly district on May 25 just before the impact of Cyclone Yaas was felt. It ripped through North 24-Parganas but lasted barely a minute and a half destroying 40 houses in the process. Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that are in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud. The IMD officer pointed out that in the case of dust devils, the rotating column of air is weak and does not make contact with the clouds.
On Tuesday, the IMD said that the southwest monsoon is expected to intensify in Andhra Pradesh as the monsoon is most likely to begin from Kerala by June 3. Officials with the Amaravathi Meteorological Department in a statement to the press said that light to moderate showers with thunder and lightning can be expected to last till June 3 across the state. The southern coastal areas of the state received light to moderate showers and thunderstorms on Tuesday.
Earlier, a similar weather event was observed around Nemali Kaluva and Nagaram in Valigonda in Telangana’s Yadadri district. This incident too was also caught on camera.