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Onlookers at a youth softball tournament were roughed up by sudden, powerful dust devil that plowed through a southern Alberta town on the weekend.

The mini-twister was captured on video by Cardston junior high school teacher Kendall Hardy who was attending his daughter’s sporting event Saturday in Vulcan, where folding chairs and gear were violently beamed up dozens of metres into the air.“It was during a break between the doubleheader; the weather was hot and sunny,” said Hardy. and that’s when I decided to start videoing,” he said.

But when the air suddenly cooled and a breeze picked up in the town 130 kilometres southeast of Calgary, Hardy said his son alerted him to a whirling dervish of dirt bearing down on them.“It engulfed a person getting into their Suburban and lifted a large amount of dust into the driver’s side of the vehicle . In the video, the funnel of dust whips toward the backstop, ripping chairs and ball equipment high above the ball diamond and briefly terrorizing those present, who scrambled out of the way.“You see the lady against the fence get hit in the side with a camp chair and someone else gets hit in the head-shoulder area with what I think is a batting helmet,” said Hardy.“I wasn’t expecting it to be as strong as it was.

It lifted bags, blankets (and) jackets a couple of hundred feet in the air.”The twister wheeled toward a residential area and across a highway where it dropped some of the articles it had ripped away, he added.

As quickly as the dust devil had come, the weather conditions then returned to almost complete calm, said Hardy.

Dust devils are created when a cell of hot air rises to collide with cooler air to form an updraft that rotates.

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