Funnel Clouds Spotted Over Tampa Bay
Posted on Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 5:00 PM MST
ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- Everything was in place this afternoon for some great storms to fire across the Florida peninsula. Around 4 PM, I noticed the skies to the NE were darkening, so I took a quick peek at the radar. There was a pretty nice looking line of storms headed our way, so I jumped in the truck and headed for my favorite spot at the Pinellas Point Boat Ramp. There was a Special Marine Warning up for Tampa Bay advising boaters of a significant threat of waterspouts, along with the standard gusty winds and deadly lightning. Another Special Marine Warning was issued for the coastal Gulf of Mexico waters, from the Skyway to Clearwater Beach.
When I got to the ramp, I could see the wall of rain to the north that was slowly approaching. Just to the east of the boat ramp, the base of the clouds was starting to lower, and the whole thing was spinning. I was pretty excited at the possibility of a waterspout, but after the clouds lowered slightly, they just kept rotating and never really tightened up enough to put down anything tornadic. It was agonizing watching it, but as the wall of rain approached, it slowly became clear that it just wasn't meant to be. The pictures came out great (click on the photos link on the right to see them). There was a radar-detected waterspout 3 mi NW of Indian Rocks Beach, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Later analysis revealed funnel clouds in some of my photos, but no waterspouts were able to be confirmed because of the massive rain shaft that overtook the area, dropping the visibility to zero.
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