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More on the crop from the sky

9th August 2007 @ 10:10pm – by Audlem Webteam
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Today's unusual occurrence of clumps of hay falling from the sky has been identified as a "dust devil" by BBC weatherman, Chris Fawkes. Chris, who is a regular visitor to Audlem, was consulted this evening to see whether he could pinpoint the reason for the incident.

He described a dust devil as a heat phenomenon where air rises and normally takes dust up into the air, to then deposit it somewhere else. On this occasion freshly cut hay was sucked into the air before falling to earth. Dust devils may be several metres wide and extend for hundreds of metres into the air, but they are fairly weak.

Chris cited a similar occurrence in Wiltshire in June 2005 when three separate dust devils hit a school sports day and caused straw to fall from the sky. A BBC meteorologist at the time said that "the straw gets caught in the rising air and acts as a tracer for the familiar rotation pattern." He also added that "if you were to jump into the middle of a dust devil, you would get a mouthful of dust (or straw) but the winds within it would only ruffle your clothes."

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