BROOKLYN — A tornado-like dust cloud swirled on the baseball diamond in McCarren Park Sunday afternoon, stunning people picnicking and playing baseball.
The mini-twister, which meteorologists call a dust devil, formed near Nassau Avenue and Lorimer Street at about 3 p.m., dissipating after two minutes, witness Michael Gambale said.
"I was sitting in the park where all the hipsters convene after their brunch, and it started whipping up and became this little tornado," said Gambale, who had just eaten with friends at Rabbithole Restaurant on Bedford Avenue.
He grabbed his iPhone and shot a 15-second video he posted to YouTube with the title the "dirt-bag hipster twister." In it, an orangey-brown column shakes up a cloud of dirt while two people on a picnic blanket look on.
Gambale, a law assistant who lives in Greenpoint, can be heard hollering in the video.
"Holy cow! No, don't go in the middle!" he shouted at the time.
"Some guy ran into it and he got all dusty, and he was totally fine," Gambale said Monday morning.
Dust devils form when the sun warms the earth and hot air rises through a pocket of cooler, lower-pressure air, National Weather Service official Tim Morrin explained.
"They can pick up dust and anything that's loose … and cause disruption to anything that's not tied down," Morrin said, noting the NWS doesn't forecast or track dust devils.
The twisters can spin as fast as 40 mph and are spotted in New York City only a few times every summer. They are more common in the southwest, the NWS official said.
Gambale said he looked forward to spotting another dust devil.
"Next time, I'll probably run through one," he said. "Maybe."