Around 11:00 local time on November 30, 2016, amidst tornado watches and waterspout reports in the area, a very large waterspout formed off the coast of Miramar Beach near Destin, Florida. It crossed the beach and moved inland, dissolved and reformed again. Winds it created blasted through the area downing trees and damaging buildings in Mary Ester. There were no reports of injuries.
“This wasn’t one of those thin, ethereal-looking things you see in the summertime,” Mark Wool, warning coordination meteorologist for the NWS' Tallahassee Office, said of the actual tornado. “This looked pretty big, and its radar signature indicated it had a tight, strong circulation.”
According to the NWS, the storm originated over the Gulf of Mexico, where meteorologists had been tracking it for about 45 minutes. It formed over the southeastern portion of Okaloosa County before it moved into Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County.
Ryan E. Phillips, who recorded the video below, said it went right over him, dissolved and then reformed.
Eyewitnesses described 30 seconds of heavy rain, followed by swirling winds carrying debris.
“It got really quiet and then all of the sudden everything started spinning around,” one of them said. “It was pretty loud and we had some shaking."
“Once it was done we went outside real quick ... and saw a piece of roof coming down slowly.”
Featured image: Tornadic waterspout near Destin, Florida on November 30, 2016. Credit: William Willis