The vortex broke the mirror and ripped it clean off. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Ildar Sagdejev
A Hartford police officer returning to his vehicle on Wednesday discovered to his dismay that it appeared to have been vandalized. The damage seemed to be centered primarily around one of the wing mirrors which had been torn off entirely and then deposited on the ground next to the car.
Determined to catch those responsible, the officer reviewed CCTV footage of the area to catch the perpetrator in the act but instead bore witness to something altogether unexpected.
The footage appeared to show a strange whirling vortex sweeping across the parking lot before settling over his car and tearing off the wing mirror. The vortex didn't seem to damage any of the other vehicles and somehow managed to drop the broken mirror directly beside the car that it had come from.
Meteorologist Brad Field believes that the phenomena is what is known as a dust devil, a small whirlwind that can form under the right conditions.
"The only way you can see the dust devil is that it picks up dust and debris into it," he said.
CCTV footage at a police parking lot has revealed an unusual culprit in a recent vandalism case.