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Hot Shots: Dust Demon, hail, earthquake and more

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Every Friday, FreightWaves takes a look at the past week or so in social media, highlighting images in trucking, transportation, and the weather. This week features a big California dust devil, a softball-sized Midwest, a strong earthquake in Mexico and more.

What is this devil?!

A big dust demon appeared Tuesday in California. Video shows the Dust Devil circling over flapping tents at a base camp for antelope firefighting crews in the northeastern part of the state. This massive fire was close to 99,000 acres early Friday morning, according to InciWeb, and was 77% contained.

Dust devils look like tornadoes but usually form on hot, clear days. Pockets of hot air rise rapidly to cool air aloft, creating a circulation that causes a funnel that develops from the ground up. In contrast, tornadoes fall to the ground from the base of a severe thunderstorm.

Huge Hail

Speaking of severe storms, dozens of them hit parts of the Midwest earlier this week. A short tornado touched down in northeastern Illinois, but the National Weather Service received 129 reports of large hail (at least 1 inch in diameter).

Some of the largest hail, softball to the size of a grapefruit, peeled Appleton and other areas of southeastern Wisconsin. The NWS said baseball-sized debris smashed windows in a home in McPhail, north of Appleton. Golf Ball – To the size of a tennis ball, hail wrecked cars in Kewaunee and also hit parts of Michigan and Illinois.

severe shivers

A strong earthquake hit parts of Mexico on Tuesday evening. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the port and resort of Acapulco, but people reported feeling it more than 200 miles away in the capital, Mexico City. As the buildings and the ground shook, pulses of light from transformers flashed across the night sky.

Fortunately, the damage in most places was slight to moderate. However, many officials blamed the earthquake for the death of at least one person. The earthquake knocked out power to about 1.6 million customers in Mexico City and in four states, according to Comisión Federal de Electricidad, the country’s state-owned utility service. The tool has been working all week to restore power.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events. Southwest Mexico earthquake, September 7, 2021. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.) Air attack

Dozens of large wildfires continue to burn millions of acres of land in Western countries. One of them is the Dixie Fire in Northern California – the largest in the country – which was first reported on July 13. While thousands of firefighters have been setting up containment lines on the ground, others are attacking from the air, dropping water and/or fire retardants from aircraft.

Due to the extremely busy fire season, an air carrier base set an annual record late last week for the delivery of fire retardants – 6.3 million gallons. Aircraft from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s McClellan Base are battling the Dixie Fire, as well as the Kaldor Fire in eastern California, which recently spread near the South Lake Tahoe resort.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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