All Weather News

Florida Waterspout Hits Beach, Becomes Tornado

19 Aug 2020, 5:35 pm

A strong waterspout near a South Florida beach moved onshore and transitioned into a tornado, causing damage to the immediate shoreline.

The waterspout was first spotted offshore of Sunny Isles Beach, a barrier island that sits just east-southeast of Aventura, Florida as seen in the video above. The report came in around 1:14 p.m. ET as the waterspout was moving to the north-northwest.

The strong waterspout moved onshore over Golden Beach, Florida around 1:20 p.m. ET Wednesday, moving north along Route A1A. The tornado lasted for about three minutes over land, causing damage to some trees, fencing, and a building. The tornado had maximum estimated winds between 80-85 miles per hour, lasted for about a half-mile, and was about 160 yards wide at its widest extent.

The difference between a waterspout and tornado? Location! If a waterspout moves onshore over land, it becomes a tornado. If a tornado is ongoing and then moves over a lake, it continues as a waterspout. In this case, the waterspout moving over land usually creates a short-lived tornado, if at all. The tornado usually weakens and dissipates pretty quickly. In today’s case over Golden Beach, Florida this event was on the stronger side.

About the author
Summer of 1993, New England Dragway. That's when and where Steve knew he wanted to become a meteorologist. More than 20 years later he is extremely fortunate and blessed to be able to live his childhood dream. As a lover of math and science, Steve had a consistent interest in weather in elementary, middle, and high school before discovering you can major in meteorology. He attended Lyndon State Co... Load Morellege in Vermont where he received a bachelor's in meteorology-broadcasting and associate's in television news. He has worked as a meteorologist and reporter in Winchester, VA, Burlington, VT, and most recently in West Palm Beach, FL. He's recognized by the American Meteorological Society with the Certification of Broadcast Meteorologists.