Is it a dust devil? An outflow boundary? An optical illusion?
Nope. It’s really a Utah tornado.
Meteorologists have confirmed that windstorm filmed last week in Pleasant Grove does qualify as an EF0 tornado — the weakest class of tornado, said Christine Kruse of the National Weather Service.
The Youtube video, posted by a user who goes by “rhasleton,” shows gusts circling Sept. 7 over a rural area of Pleasant Grove, pulling up a large piece of sheet metal.
“Oh, my gosh! That is a freaking tornado!” a man can be heard yelling as the dust swirls.
The video had more than 26,000 views as of Saturday.
The weather service reviewed the video this week according to a number of criteria. Windspeeds must be at least 65 mph, which meteorologists concluded by the size of debris picked up. A lower cloud base is associated with the rotation, and debris is being pulled up rather than blown laterally, Kruse said.
Kruse said the storm in the video is decidedly stronger than a dust devil or a spin-up in an outflow boundary — high winds that blow at the edges of thunderstorms.
Utah sees only two tornados each year on average, Kruse said.
“You don’t like to see damage, but it’s a pretty fascinating video,” she said. “Thankfully, it seems like no one was injured.”