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Flying canopy bonks teen as 'gustnado' visits Florida beach

Aug. 5, 2013 at 3:16 PM

COCOA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A 15-year-old boy has been injured by a canopy picked up by a swirling gust of wind and blown across a beach on the east coast of Florida, officials say.

The canopy was among umbrellas, kayaks and pop-up tents picked up by a "gustnado" and lifted as high as 100 feet into the air, Florida Today reported Monday.

The teenager knocked in the head by the flying beach gear was taken to a local hospital for treatment, said Eisen Witcher, the ocean rescue assistant for Broward County.

Witcher said he had just arrived at the beach Sunday afternoon when "the wind picked up very intensely, very quickly."

He estimated the small wind storm traveled across the sand for 10 to 15 seconds before moving out to sea, where it persisted another 20 to 25 seconds.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne confirmed the wind was a gustnado, which is similar to a dust devil.

Meteorologist Amanda Brown said the vortex is a ground-level phenomenon and is not connected to the clouds, as a tornado would be.

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