Photographer captures incredible image of massive waterspout towering over Tampa Bay
posted Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 10:32 AM EST
Joey Mole was in his home in Tampa, Florida when a massive waterspout erupted from the bay in front of him. The spout, which looked like something from a Sci-Fi horror movie, spiraled down from a cloud hovering over Old Tampa Bay (Oldsmar), sucking water up into the sky.
Mole grabbed his iPhone and shot images and video of the amazing waterspout and then shared them on social media. Mole's waterspout shot was spotted by meteorologist Jeremy Kappell for WDRB in Louisville, Kentucky who shared it on his own Facebook page and the image quickly went viral.
Some observers, initially, questioned whether the shot might have been Photoshopped. But another meteorologist Jesse Ferrell of AccuWeather.com, contacted Mole, who sent him the original image file. After analyzing the data, Ferrell concluded that the image data did not appear to have been altered.
"I'm 95 percent sure of the photo's authenticity, which is about as sure as I get without taking the picture myself," Ferrell wrote on his blog.
Check out Mole's image below along with a video of local news coverage of the spout. (Note: the bright spot in the bottom right of the image is not the sun, it's the flash from Mole's iPhone being reflected in the window.)
Waterspouts typically form when air and mist combine to create a powerful vortex. These types of spouts don't usually come so close to shore and, in this case, the waterspout actually made landfall. No one was, reportedly, injured but the spout did cause extensive property damage.