Café customers stunned as ‘dust devil’ tornado spins through car park amid UK heatwave

This is the moment a ‘mini tornado ‘ whirled through a car park outside a café in the UK.

The weather phenomenon shocked those at the Copythorne Community Caf in Cadnam, near Southampton, Hants.

Business owner Victoria Howard-Jones filmed the whirlwind, which lasted between 30 and 45 seconds.

She said: “I was surprised as it’s not something you see every day.

“We didn’t know what it was at first, so when it looked like it moved I started filming it.

“I thought I was going to lose my car at first. I have never seen anything like this before.”

Hampshire weatherman Andy Simmonds described the weather phenomenon as a ‘dust devil’.

He said: “Dust devils are very short-lived, and they rotate upwards.

“They are usually harmless. Here, dust devils, or whirlwinds as they are also known, often go unnoticed as they tend to form out in the countryside during the cereal harvest season.

“However, conditions like we have at the moment with a large anticyclone firmly in place over much of England, and cloudless skies along with both high air and ground temperatures, are the perfect spawning ground for dust devils to develop.

“A vacuum of warm air sucks up waste straw or lightweight materials on the ground and swirls it into the air briefly.”

He said a dust devil differs from a proper tornado as the former has an upward rotation whereas a tornado has the opposite.

Head of geography and environmental science at the University of Southampton, professor Justin Sheffield said dust devils are rare in the UK.

He said: “These are quite common globally in desert regions, but somewhat rare in the UK because you need conditions to be hot and dry, but also dusty so that they can be seen.

“With the recent dry weather and high temperatures these are more likely to form.

“They aren’t dangerous and only last a few seconds or minutes at most, but I would expect them to become more common with climate change bringing drier and hotter summers, especially in the south of the country.”