Jesse Ferrell, AccuWeather.com meteorologist and social media coordinator, didn’t believe what he saw in Tampa Bay earlier this week was real. The picture and video by Joey Mole in Safety Harbor show an unbelievable and surreal waterspout curving downward from a cloud into Old Tampa Bay.
“When I saw this photo this morning on social media, I couldn’t believe it was real,” he wrote on his blog.
Ferrell wrote Tuesday that he is “95 percent sure of the photo’s authenticity,” which he added is “about as sure as I get without taking the picture myself.”
After going through the rabbit hole of tracking down the photo’s original source to evaluate its authenticity as much as possible, Ferrell eventually landed on Mole, who afterward sent him the original photo from which Ferrel was able to find the EXIF data below and show it was the real deal.
Watch Mole’s stunning footage (Content Warning: Strong language):
In case you’re wondering, what looks like the sun at the bottom of Mole’s photograph is actually the flash from his iPhone reflecting in a window through which he snapped the image.
There are also these photos of the powerful event:
WFTS-TV reported deputies saying they spotted a waterspout make landfall in Oldsmar, which hugs one side of Safety Harbor. It was said to damage a home and brought down a tree and some branches, but no one was injured.
Watch WFTS-TV’s report:
Here kayaker Kevin Glover films the waterspout as it formed, call it “freaking amazing” (Content warning: some strong language):
This footage shows the dramatic curvature of the spout from spectators who were nearly beneath it:
But this wasn’t the only waterspout to pop up this week. The Associated Press posted this raw footage of a second waterspout near Palmetto, Florida, south of Safety Harbor:
These events occur as tropical storm Chantal was downgraded Wednesday to a tropical wave as its scattered clouds drifted quickly westward toward Jamaica.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the wave was expected to spread over Jamaica and eastern Cuba into Thursday. It was projected to move over or near the Florida peninsula by Friday, where heavy wind shear is expected to keep it from reforming as a storm.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(H/T: Laughing Squid)