On Wednesday morning, two waterspouts crashed into the coast of Destin, Florida, knocking down trees and damaging buildings. Strong gusts of wind made the situation even worse.
Tornadoes were spotted across several states including Alabama, Georgia and Florida, while spouts were seen forming near the coast of Destin, pulling water from the sea and down from the clouds, before splashing onto the land.
The extreme weather conditions resulted in at least 22 tornadoes between Tennessee and Louisiana, which tossed cars around like toys. Unfortunately, a mobile home near Highway 71 in Rosalie, Alabama, was also destroyed in the process, leaving three people dead and one with critical injuries.
Around six people seeking shelter in an Alabama pre-school received injuries when the building got knocked down due to the harsh weather. In Tennessee, two people were found dead, and rescue workers expect the death toll to rise as search operations continue.
“This wasn’t one of those thin, ethereal-looking things you see in the summertime,” said Mark Wool, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee Office. “This looked pretty big, and its radar signature indicated it had a tight, strong circulation.”
Homeowners in Mary Esther, Florida, reported around 30 seconds of heavy rainfall followed by strong winds carrying debris.
“The stuff was going circular,” said Matthew Oswald, a resident of Mary Esther Drive.
“It got really quiet and then all of the sudden everything started spinning around,” she said. “It was pretty loud and we had some shaking,” said Megan Smith, who works at Crane Electronics. She was looking out of the window when a tornado passed by.
Around five families are known to have been affected from the winds in Mary Esther. Many others have been posting images of the tornadoes and waterspouts, along with updates on social media.
Picture from Skip showing the waterspout approaching Destin a little while ago... pic.twitter.com/5SOHJG05lw— Chris Smith (@smithwjhg) November 30, 2016