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Waterspout next to Juno Beach Pier

JUNO BEACH, Fla. – Witnesses to some wild weather in Juno Beach are still talking about the massive waterspout that they saw on Sunday evening. About a quarter mile out from the Juno Beach Pier, the clouds began to darken and come together. “It was pretty big, pretty scary,” said Mikey Lay.

Fishermen, many of them children, say they didn’t quite know what to think as mother nature suddenly whipped up something potentially dangerous right in front of them.

“Like a tornado, but with water,” is how Crispin Walker, 15, described what he saw. Witnesses say the waterspout was hundreds of feet wide, dipping down and churning up the Atlantic Ocean.

“We saw the clouds spiraling and they just touched,” said Connor Modcher, 15. Modcher said the waterspout snuck up on his group of friends. “We went to the other side of the pier and when we looked back it was a full waterspout,” he said. Connor called his mother, who told him to take cover in a nearby restroom. Eventually, he did. “We took pictures first and then we ran to the bathroom.”

A day later and the pier and the water around it were busy once again.

“Storms in the area kicked up a little bit of a surf, so it’s time to surf,” said Mike McGann, who hopped on his surfboard; still pondering the size and strength of the waterspout. “Pretty impressive, one of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Meteorologists say if the waterspout moved onto the beach, it likely would have been classified as a tornado. The weather system, though, was moving from shore out to sea. The entire weather event lasted just a few minutes.

Photojournalist Eric Pasquarelli contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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