Water Spout Hits Beach Near Destin, Florida [VIDEO]
Definitely not what you want to experience while you are at the beach, but to see the video is pretty cool.
Kaitlin Wright, a meteorologist for WCCB in Charlotte, posted this video of a water spout hitting Grayton Beach, Florida, which is just east of Destin.
There's no sound to the video, but the palpable sense of fear replaces the audio nicely. Watch:
It's a short video, but it's obvious to see how powerful the waterspout is once it hits the shore.
According to the National Geographic website, a waterspout is "a column of cloud-filled wind rotating over a body of water.
The website explains that the waterspout is not filled with water from the ocean (or whatever body of water it's hovering over), rather the spout is filled with condensation from the cloud.
I also learned (through researching for this story) that there are 2 kinds of waterspouts: tornadic and fair-weather.
A tornadic waterspout, as its name implies, starts out as a tornado and has the potential to cause real damage. These usually form when severe weather is in the area.
A fair-weather waterspout, on the other hand, is usually mild and much less dangerous. Though wind speeds can exceed 50 miles per hour (which will totally wreck your wonderful beach umbrella/tent/chair/wagon/kite/badminton set-up), damage to structures is usually minimal, at worst.
Fair-weather waterspouts usually die out not long after they move onshore, as they need a certain water temperature/air temperature/humidity level combination. Once a developed fair-weather waterspout moves over land, the dynamics change enough to dissipate the waterspout.
Other than getting some sand in your eyes or maybe the leg of a beach tent through your chest, there's not much to worry about with a fair-weather waterspout.
Now, how do we know what kind of waterspout was in the photo above? I'm sure that Rob Perillo could tell us (he has the resources, you know) but, if I had to guess, this one was somewhere between a fair-weather waterspout and a tornadic waterspout.
See those dark clouds in the video? My mom would have had us off of the beach way before that waterspout had time to form!