Florida beach: Waterspout turns into a tornado and sends bathers running for safety

A waterspout turned into a tornado at a beach off Florida’s southwest coast on Saturday, sending many beachgoers running for cover and causing minor property damage.

The weather quickly turned harsh in the afternoon on Fort Myers Beach, and several people who witnessed the tornado captured video showing it hurtling towards them.

Footage showed dark clouds hovering in the sky, while chairs and tents were blown away by high winds as bathers ran for shelter.

The National Weather Service confirmed the waterspout moved landward as a weak tornado on Fort Myers Beach on Saturday and they are examining the sudden weather change.

The agency said the tornado had peak winds of around 65 mph.

“Essentially, because a waterspout is basically a tornado over water, that means the waterspout ended up being a tornado when it moved toward land,” said Ross Giarratana, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Tampa.

No injuries were reported as a result of the sudden weather change.

Minor property damage, however, reportedly occurred at the Lani Kai Island Resort, a business located near the beach.

Audrey and Dale Groombridge, who have visited Fort Myers for the past 45 years for vacation, said they came this time for a beach shrimp festival, but the festivities were dampened by the weather, reports WINK-TV, affiliated with CBS.

Cheryl Sackaris, a vendor at the Shrimp Festival, told the station it was one of the scariest days for her.

“You can see our tent is shaking like crazy right now, but, uh, you know, I’m used to it to a point because I’ve been doing shows for about 24 years,” Ms. Sackaris said.

“Today, I think, was a bit of the scariest. Because it came all of a sudden, like what’s going on, there’s a waterspout, here we go , where are you going?” she added.

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