Footage of a Sunshine Skyway Bridge waterspout that caused some major damage on Sunday is going viral this Monday morning. The video footage shows the waterspout destroying a U.S. Mail semi-truck. The local Florida media first noticed the waterspout early Sunday morning after initial video footage was shared on social media. Several photos and videos popped up on Twitter of the waterspout, and the most shocking video is of the twister destroying the semi after it made landfall.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the incident with the U.S. Mail truck happened just before 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. Randall J. Leaver was driving north on I-275 about 9:45 a.m. Sunday morning. Many people noticed the waterspout off shore, but it was not until it had hit land that it began to cause damage.
Before the waterspout dealt its blow to the U.S. Mail truck, it also caused damaged to a nearby construction site and overturned a small boat.
— Jim Van Fleet (@JamesVanFleet) October 11, 2015
Luckily, no one was injured in the damage caused by the waterspout’s landfall. People who had mail on that truck might want to make sure the mail they sent out arrives at its intended destination though. Mail was seen on the road surrounding the mail truck and in the water. Authorities did make an effort to retrieve all the mail, but it is likely that task was not successful.
Use caution in area of NB Skyway following crash with mail truck pic.twitter.com/x8GlZvaU4f
— Steve Gaskins (@SteveG717) October 11, 2015
Eyewitnesses to the waterspout spoke with the media about what they saw before the incident with the mail truck. Robert Gudes was fishing in the area when he decided to take cover around 9:45 a.m. yesterday. He shared his experience with Fox 13 News.
“It was just like any regular day starting out. The next thing I know, it just started getting more intense, debris everywhere. I tried to pick up my buckets and run, the next thing I hear is a boom.”
Lee Dove managed to catch the footage of the waterspout hitting the U.S. Mail truck that is now going viral. He shared his observations of the incident with Fox 13, as well.
“I figured it would just stay in the water and dissipate, but then it hit land. It looked like a paper truck and it looked like an explosion. Papers were everywhere. The truck fell over on the side and then it flipped over on its wheels. I could see the driver the whole time holding onto the wheels.”
Waterspouts are not uncommon in the south Florida area. In fact, Tampa Bay is known for having the most damaging waterspouts because “the shores of the Bay are so built up,” according to USA Today. A waterspout is defined simply as a “any tornado over a body of water.” Most are usually weak, but some can have wind speeds that hit 190 miles per hour.
South Florida residents are used to seeing waterspouts. In fact, some recommend a visit to the Florida Keys to see them. That part of Florida can see up to 500 waterspouts a year. The early evening hours between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. are known as the best time to spot a waterspout.
Whoa: Waterspout damages U.S. Mail truck while passing over Tampa bridge http://t.co/peuod1vYUH pic.twitter.com/GRAddbe202
— WEWS NewsChannel5 (@WEWS) October 11, 2015
However, this weather phenomenon is dangerous. The incident with the mail truck on Sunday illustrates that. It is not the only incident caused by a waterspout in Florida that has gone viral in 2015 either.
Back in May, a waterspout lifted a bounce house off a Florida beach. Children were inside at the time of the incident. Three children were taken to the hospital, according to another USA Today report. Two of the children sustained only minor injuries. The third child did not fall out of the bounce house until it was 15 feet above the ground. They were kept in the hospital a bit longer than the two other children.
Daily Mail reported on how waterspouts sightings are handled by the weather service following this incident.
“Waterspouts can cause serious damage and even pose a risk to people’s lives if they move inshore. The National Weather Service issues a special waterspout warning when they are likely or have been sighted over coastal waters and a tornado warning when they are expected to move inshore.”
This incident with the mail truck is a rare instance of severe damage, but waterspouts are definitely not rare in the south Florida area. When one is spotted off shore, it is best to take cover.
However, Bay 9 News weatherman, Josh Linker, said that this waterspout was created by small storm with no lightning. He said, “It just happened to cross the road. If it didn’t cross the road, nobody would even know about it except the people taking pictures. It was a really interesting and potentially scary situation.”
Another boater in the area, Matt Dwer, took footage of the incident with the mail truck on Sunday, and he said to the media that he wanted to get closer. He wanted to get the “good shot” of the waterspout. He admitted that was probably not the most intelligent thing to do.
Have you ever seen a waterspout up close? What do you think of this viral video?