Reader report: ‘Whirlwind’ sweeps through Highland Park playground

Think it’s calm out there this afternoon? Not for a few moments just before 4 pm at Highland Park playground, according to someone who called us. A “whirlwind” swept through, picking up and swirling wood chips in the air. Nobody was hurt but, the caller said, it was startling, to say the least. We asked the National Weather Service about this via Twitter; they hadn’t heard anything, but then Marcia joined the conversation, saying, “It was CRAZY! Blankets and clothes went flying in the air. Someone lost their kite!” The NWS says it sounds like a “whirlwind/dust devil” – apparently these can and do happen anywhere.

10 Replies to "Reader report: 'Whirlwind' sweeps through Highland Park playground"

  • gcwaite July 17, 2016 (8:35 pm)

    That was my daughter’s kite that flew away. I watched it go straight up in the air and through the cloud. It was very bizarre. It’s true, blanket, towels, picnics, wood clips were flying everywhere and getting sucked in the the vortex of this thing.

    • WSB July 17, 2016 (8:54 pm)

      If anyone finds an unexplained kite in their yard tomorrow, maybe they’ll let us know! I don’t know the force of these winds but glad to hear no one was hurt…

  • Message July 17, 2016 (10:54 pm)

    This isn’t true!  I was there, and this is a very incorrect description of what happened!

    • WSB July 17, 2016 (11:10 pm)

      This is what we’ve heard from multiple people in multiple channels; you certainly are welcome to describe what it looked/felt like to you!

  • waikikigirl July 18, 2016 (8:04 am)

    OMGoodness “MESSAGE” if you’re going to comment at least let us know what you saw or felt…don’t keep us on pins and needles!


    • newnative July 18, 2016 (9:03 am)

      It’s a regular West Seattle Scandal.  haha!  Dust Devils are so odd.  We had a lot of them in the Southwest.  They can get really big there.

  • mlutwak July 18, 2016 (10:00 am)

    We had one here on South Beacon Hill, going north to south, around 5PM. Picked up a picnic table & attached umbrella, carried them a nice distance.

  • sam-c July 18, 2016 (10:27 am)

    with everyone video-ing everything with their smartphones these days, no-one sent you a video of this thing ? 

    • WSB July 18, 2016 (10:32 am)

      Apparently it was quick and extremely startling. Not to mention, that’s a place you go with your kids, and for most if not all parents, the first instinct would be to gather the kids to safety, not to whip out the phone and start rolling.

      • Alan July 18, 2016 (11:22 am)

        And it takes 20-30 seconds to realize you want to record something, get your phone out, unlock it, open the camera app and start filming.  If you choose to do that instead of protecting your child, you are still likely to miss it.

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