National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Other Weather Types

Finally, there are significant types of weather that are related to wind. These other forms of weather include:

Well-Developed Dust/Sand Whirls

An ensemble of particles of dust or sand, sometimes accompanied by small litter, raised from the ground in the form of a whirling column of varying height with a small diameter and an approximately vertical axis. Commonly called a 'dust devil'.


A strong wind characterized by a sudden onset in which the wind speed increases at least 18 mph (16 knots, 30 km/h) and is sustained at 25 mph (22 knots, 41 km/h) or more for at least one minute. Often occur from thunderstorms where the term 'squall line' originates. But the term 'squall' only refers to the wind speed increase and not any other associated weather. In the image, the low arcing clouds are not the squall line but mark the approximate location of the squall.


A violent, rotating column of air touching the ground.

Funnel Cloud

A violent, rotating column of air which does not touch the surface.


A violent, rotating column of air that forms over a body of water, and touches the water surface. If it does not touch the water surface then it is called a funnel cloud.

Sand Storm

Particles of sand carried aloft by a strong wind. The sand particles are mostly confined to the lowest ten feet, and rarely rise more than fifty feet above the ground.

Dust Storm

A severe weather condition characterized by strong winds and dust-filled air over an extensive area.