Mysterious mini-twister wrecks docks on Wolf Lake

Posted at 5:00 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 18:22:55-04

BALDWIN, Mich. -- It was a gorgeous weekend across West Michigan, so what led to two docks on Wolf Lake being snapped in half?

If not for some alert eyewitnesses, it may have stayed a mystery.

Jeff Van Heck messaged FOX 17 on Facebook Sunday night with these pictures of the docks like this one below.

Wolf Lake Dock 1
Van Heck described what sounded like a small water spout. But on a cloudless day, that's impossible.

Video surfaced on the Wolf Lake Facebook page of Sunday's mysterious mini twister. The FOX 17 Weather Team and the Grand Rapids National Weather Service looked the video over and concluded it was the work of a dust devil that damaged the docks.

The video, taken by boaters on the lake, shows dusty air spinning over the water. It darts forward taking out one dock and then the next. In less than two minutes it was over and fell apart after it moved over land and into the woods.

Van Heck described an odd sound coming from the dust devil, “No wind to speak of, but we could here this really loud, almost like an air gun or something sound hissing.”

That sound was most likely the intake of wind into the small vortex.

The term dust devil is a loose one, so even though this happened over water and there wasn't much dust, the term applies. A dust devil is defined as a small whirlwind over land, or in this unusual case, water.