Busy season for waterspouts around Tampa Bay - WFLA News Channel 8

Busy season for waterspouts around Tampa Bay

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Amateur image of Monday's waterspout in Oldsmar area Amateur image of Monday's waterspout in Oldsmar area

Tampa Bay is in the bullseye of Florida's tornado alley, and weather experts say it's been a busy season for waterspouts and countless amateur photographers who practically stop traffic to snap a picture.

There are more waterspouts occurring and more people documenting them with cell phone cameras.

"Anything that occurs out there we have a higher chance of seeing it from our spotters," said National Weather Service Meteorologist-in-Charge Brian LaMarre.

Monday's waterspout was a perfect example.

7/8/2013 Related Story: Tornado damages Oldsmar home

It popped up during rush hour and danced around upper Tampa Bay for 20 minutes before briefly coming ashore in Oldsmar. Dozens of people captured the waterspout on camera and transmitted riveting images through social media to friends and family.

LaMarre says an amateur weather spotter helped foresters verify the waterspout and led his forecasters to issue a tornado warning.

"The information you're sharing actually allows the National Weather Service and media to get that information out via warnings," LaMarre said.

But he also warns amateurs against throwing caution to the wind during such moments.

"We want to make sure people are at a safe distance because as it gets closer to them they're putting their life at risk," said LaMarre. "It's not worth a photograph."

LaMarre says weather conditions are ripe for more waterspouts so keep your eyes open and cameras ready.

 

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