Sometimes, when there is moderately strong gusting wind, one can see the wind raising a little dust just a little above the ground, from the ankle height, up to a few meters. When the wind gust is gone, the dust goes back on the ground. Sometimes a small vortex of dust is formed, sometimes, they are just blankets of dust.

What are these kind of dust clouds called? Is there a different name when dust is mixed with ice, or frozen snow, or when it's just frozen snow?

  • I don't think frozen snow lifts so easily -- I think it's too heavy and solidified. / In the weather report they talk about blowing snow -- does that work for you? Dec 6, 2021 at 5:25
  • @aparente001 Snow can freeze in many ways. Where I live, it happens quite often that the wind raises an ice dust and dumps it near fences or houses. What I was thinking of I've seen a lot on the road, when it's very cold and dry. Dec 7, 2021 at 17:05
  • Magicsowon - And I thought winter was yucky here. Dec 8, 2021 at 2:23

1 Answer 1


The whirling vortex (visible because of the dust raised) is sometimes called a

dust devil

A small whirlwind or air vortex over land, visible as a column of dust and debris.

the wind kicked up dust devils in the street

From Lexico

  • It could also be an eddy. Dec 6, 2021 at 5:23
  • @aparente001 true, but eddy applies to water too. Dust devil is specific to a vortex of wind. Apparently in Australia it is called a willy-willy, and in Ireland a fairy wind. Dec 6, 2021 at 6:47
  • Hopefully the context will show that it's too dry or cold for a water eddy. Dec 6, 2021 at 16:05
  • When is the ocean too dry for an eddy? Dec 6, 2021 at 16:08

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