Video captures Florida beachgoers running from waterspout that injured 2

A waterspout is a type of cyclone that occurs over a body of water. Once the waterspout moved ashore, the vortex quickly weakened.

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Sunshine State has not been living up to its nickname recently, and beachgoers in Clearwater received firsthand knowledge of the power of Mother Nature.

Late on Friday afternoon, a small waterspout moved ashore from the Gulf of Mexico and the entire incident was caught on video.

Cellphone video from the Clearwater Fire and Rescue Department showed what appeared to be a busy beach day, with plenty of chairs and umbrellas along the sand. Ocean conditions weren’t the greatest, with red flags warning of gusty westerly winds and hazardous surf.

Lifeguards were already alerting swimmers to use extreme caution, but in a matter of seconds, what turned out to be a rough day on the water moved on shore as a waterspout picked up umbrellas and chairs and flung them around as if they were toys.

The video clip from responders was less than 15 seconds long, but in that time, the power of the vortex could be seen moving from the water onto the sand and injuring two people.


According to the fire and rescue department, the injuries were caused by flying debris and were considered to be minor. Both beachgoers were reported to have been transported to a local hospital.

The National Weather Service in the Tampa Bay area said the incident was so localized that it was difficult to tell on radar exactly when the event occurred.

There were no watches or warnings in effect when the waterspout moved toward the coast, and there were no other reports of damage or injuries.


Waterspouts are extremely common in Florida’s coastal waters, but to actually see one move ashore is a bit more rare.

In most cases, waterspouts are significantly weaker than tornadoes and quickly dissipate before making it to land.

According to the NWS, the vortexes are typically a more significant concern for boaters and marine interests.