The incredible power of nature is seen when a violent dust storm blows up, filling the skies with inescapable banks of suffocating cloud. Tonnes of whirling sand or soil are swept along by high winds, leaving a trail of devastation behind.
Dust storms are most likely to occur during droughts, when sand or soil is loose and dry. Carried on the wind, billowing dust clouds can envelop entire cities, choking the inhabitants and damaging buildings.
Strong winds whip up particles of dust or sand. The pieces move along the ground, then begin to jump into the air. As they break up into smaller pieces, they are carried off by the wind.
Resembling mini tornadoes, dust devils are small-scale whirlwinds, spinning dust in a vertical column of air over the ground. They are less dangerous than their name suggests, usually lasting only a few minutes and rarely causing any damage.