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Old 05-26-2015, 10:57 AM
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ricki ricki is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
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Default Waterspout Comes Ashore, Lifts Bounce House, Ft. Lauderdale Beach

A fair weather waterspout came ashore opposite Bahia Mar yesterday in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. It threw an bounce house containing four young kids what appears to be 30 ft. + into the air, over the pedestrian bridge and apparently into A1A perhaps 300 ft. downwind. Three were released from the hospital while the third, a young girls is still at Broward General. I wish her all speed in healing and going home soon.

The waterspout, (actually dust devil or tornado at that point?) broke a light pole (aluminum?) and a steel basketball standard. Waterspouts are common in the warmer months in South Florida. Sometimes they can quietly "sneak" up on you if you aren't looking in that direction. It looks like many at the beach and park were unaware it was moving ashore close to them.

I don't think it is practical to configure a bounce house for such weather extremes. About all you can do is to stay aware, particularly this time of year. I recall at least one other bounce house being picked up by a dust devil or twister in recent years. Funnel clouds and waterspouts have killed and paralyzed some kiters in Europe. If you are out, particularly this time of year kiting, you need to stay aware and look for things like this.

As developed and controlled as our world may seem, weather phenomena still occur which are beyond our ability to oppose or control. Lightening, hurricanes, drought, blizzards, bursts and on, it is a long list. We need to avoid these hazards and otherwise manage ourselves the best that we can to try to avoid harm. Stay aware, use good sense and try to avoid problems.

A fair weather waterspout is more of a subtle threat and about the only way to try to reduce the odds of problems is to stay aware. If you see one, seek cover immediately in a good safe, shelter or if in a boat proceed at best speed 90 degrees from its direction of travel.

Signs to look for, black bases on flat cumulous clouds (cloud streets), funnel droops or "pointy" or ragged features along cloud base, dark spots on the water, rotating water masses at cloud base or on the water. You can actually see these funnel clouds try to develop, fail, merge, vanish, reappear a times.

A long low, flat cumulus cloud which generated a clear weather waterspout severely hurting some kiters in Italy.

Waterspouts often dissipate rapidly once on land, but not always. Sometimes they turn into tornados. There was one which did a lot of damage to several houses in the Harbor Beach area just to the southeast in the 1970's. There are tornadic waterspouts associated with severe thunderstorm clouds with greater potential for harm. Usually, the clouds they are associated with are far more threatening in appearance than the fair weather waterspouts.

A funnel cloud forms in Italy but the kiter seem unaware or unconcerned. The accidents happened shortly after this point.

More about waterspouts at:
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by ricki; 05-26-2015 at 02:22 PM.
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