A recent softball game between University of Lynchburg and Bridgewater College has attracted nationwide attention thanks to an interesting spectacle by Mother Nature.
During the game, a dust devil — a small, tornado-like whirlwind that stirs up a thick cloud of dust — appeared on Moon Field. The game paused as players and spectators watched the towering column of dirt crossed the field and eventually rose into the air and dissipated. As the cyclone raced across the field, it passed just a few feed from some student-athletes, who ducked their heads but stood their ground.
Since then, a video captured by the Lynchburg Hornets Sports Network has been shared by ESPN, USA Today, Fox News, ABC, NBC, and Sports Illustrated, as well as local news outlets. It even has an international audience thanks to a French meteorologist. The Lynchburg Sports Facebook post about the dust devil has been shared more than 2,000 times, and the YouTube video has more than 17,000 views.
When the dust cleared, the game continued and the Hornets went on to win the doubleheader against Bridgewater.
Will Stafford ’11, a communication studies graduate and weekend weather anchor for WSET, explained how the phenomenon could have been formed during a newscast over the weekend. More recently, the Weather Channel’s Ari Sarsalari also showed the video and explained how dust devils form.