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Huge waterspout churns offshore as lightning flashes

By Wyatt Loy, Accuweather.com

At 6 a.m. CDT Tuesday, Boo Freeman filmed a massive waterspout off the coast of Destin, Fla., about 50 miles east of Pensacola, before most people had their first cup of coffee. "What a morning! Wow!" Freeman posted on Instagram.

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Multiple videos and photos posted to social media showed the storm, Northwest Florida Daily News reported. Freeman told AccuWeather that the photogenic waterspout dissipated offshore. "I've seen many waterspouts just last week we had another one pass by."

AccuWeather Senior Weather Editor Jesse Ferrell pointed out that this was not a typical waterspout. "It looks like this was a legitimate tornado over water formed by a supercell thunderstorm, not a weak waterspout spun up from a rain shower."

FL Waterspout Radar
A radar loop from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2022, shows a line of thunderstorms offshore from Destin, Fla., indicated by the red dot.
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Radar showed a strong thunderstorm formed just offshore and moved southeast. The National Weather Service issued a special marine warning for offshore waters shortly after the waterspout was sighted.

This is the fifth waterspout reported by the National Weather Service off the Florida Panhandle this summer. Data on how often waterspouts occur isn't well-updated, and most of them go unreported entirely, Ferrell said.

Summer 2022 Waterspouts
A total of five waterspouts have been reported by the National Weather Service office so far this summer.

Many of the waterspouts reported in northwest Florida this season have been off the coast near Tallahassee, and the one in Destin is the farthest west of the bunch so far.

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