As many as three waterspouts formed off the North Carolina coast this morning providing an impressive show of Mother Nature at work. Two of the waterspouts became tornadoes as they came ashore and amateur video captured the event.
Waterspouts are similar to tornadoes and are formed by a rotating column of air over water. The phenomena are most common in the tropics but they can occur at more northern latitudes.
- Check out the amazing videos of the North Carolina waterspouts
They are typically not very powerful but do present a hazard to ships as well as coastal areas when they make landfall. Once they reach land, they are then considered a tornado.
One waterspout today was spotted five miles off the coast of Isle of Palms, North Carolina. Two more formed in the water off of Carolina Beach and moved ashore startling beach goers and vacationers.
Amateur video of one of the waterspouts shows it approaching shore sending people in the area scrambling. As it moves onto the beach, chairs and umbrellas are picked up and tossed by the vortex.
Only minor damage was reported from the twisters including damaged walkways. The National Weather Service will be visiting the scene and performing a damage assessment to determine a Fujita Scale rating for the twisters.
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