Children flee as mini tornado whips through school field in Thailand

This is the dramatic moment children flee as a mini tornado whips through a field outside their school.

The youngsters had just been let out for lunch when the whirlwind formed on outside their classrooms in Roi Et, Thailand, on February 4.

Some children walked over to the 200ft high twister only to run back shouting with fright.

The swirling mass of air, also known as a dust devil, wound its way across the field for around two minutes before it eventually moved away and fizzled out.

Teacher Phaitun Jaidee said: ''The tornado was so high, I shouted to the children 'don't go near it' but they went anyway.

''The children wanted to get close to it. Others ran away. I don't what I would have done if it had picked one of them up.''

Like tornadoes, dust devils are verticle columns of rotating air. However, they are not as powerful and do not cause significant damage.

They are formed when a pocket of hot air near the surface rises quickly through cooler air above it, forming an updraft. In the right conditions, the column may then rotate and pick up the dust from the ground below.