All Weather News

Waterspout or Tornado Over Water? The NWS Weighs In…

23 Apr 2018, 3:27 pm

After seeing the dramatic footage Sunday of what was said to be a waterspout making its way onto land to become a tornado in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, there are questions as to whether the term ‘waterspout’ should have been used.

Ft. Walton Beach waterspout

It was a wild weather Sunday across parts of the southeast! Multiple tornadoes were reported in parts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida, including this waterspout that made landfall in Ft. Walton Beach. #flwx

Posted by WeatherNation on Sunday, April 22, 2018

This video shows the tornadic storm making its way from the water onto land in the Florida Panhandle.

Ft. Walton Beach waterspout

***CRAZY VIDEO*** Play this video to watch the moment a waterspout moved onshore in Ft. Walton Beach, FL Sunday!

Posted by WeatherNation on Sunday, April 22, 2018

Many angles of the storm were recorded, but WeatherNation talked to the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Mobile about using the term waterspout to describe the storm.

“This was not a waterspout,” NWS Meteorologist Jeff Medlin said. “A lot of people get caught up in confusing this with your day in and day out summertime waterspout which have much weaker wind speeds.”

Florida Tornado

WATERSPOUT or TORNADO OVER WATER? Yes, there's a big difference in the dynamics. Meteorologist In Charge, Jeff Medlin, from the US National Weather Service Mobile Alabama explains. Click to listen #FLwx

Posted by WeatherNation on Monday, April 23, 2018


“This was a definite tornado over water,” Medlin said. “This is something that we have really worked hard to train the people who are out in boats in our area. They know the difference and we will occasionally use that verbiage ‘tornado over water’ to elicit the response.”

Medlin went on to say that they have confirmed winds with this storm up to 105 miles per hour. And while the damage survey team is still out, there has been preliminary EF-1 damage found.

More information on the storm is expected to be released Monday evening.

Listen to the full interview with Jeff Medlin here:

For WeatherNation – Meteorologist Heather Brinkmann