Florida Waterspout Hits Beach, Becomes Tornado
A strong waterspout near a South Florida beach moved onshore and transitioned into a tornado, causing damage to the immediate shoreline.
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) August 19, 2020
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.
Mariners, if you are on the water, move to safe harbor immediately!! Large confirmed waterspout with strong to damaging winds elsewhere. https://t.co/LErQT4YsIG
— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) August 19, 2020
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.