This morning, locals in Destin, Florida were shocked and horrified to see a massive waterspout forming in the Gulf of Mexico. Some people managed to capture the sight on film and upload it online, but for many others, it was just a brief glimpse during their morning commute.

Did you know that cumulus clouds can sometimes form into waterspouts? These weather phenomena occur when a column of air and water mist whirl upwards, often reaching hundreds of feet in the air. They look similar to tornados, so they are sometimes referred to as ‘tornados on the water’. However, the official name for these things is ‘waterspout’.

This beautiful waterspout was spotted early this morning near the Emerald Coast in Florida. These types of water tornadoes are often created by large storms that have been brewing over the Gulf of Mexico.

A video posted to social media platforms by locals in Destin, Florida demonstrates the enormity of the thunderstorm brewing offshore. The titanic waterspout fills up a large section of sky as it pulls water and air from

the ocean into its spiraling walls. Meanwhile, periodic lightning flashes illuminate the dark storm clouds overhead as the gale continues to rage on in the Gulf of Mexico.

Waterspouts are not typically considered incredible, but Jesse Ferrell of AccuWeather confirmed that this one was very special given the circumstances.

“It looks like this was a legitimate tornado over water formed by a supercell thunderstorm, not a weak waterspout spun up from a rain shower,” Ferrell said.

The weather service’s data showed that a thunderstorm had formed in the Gulf of Mexico, which caused the waterspout to form as it was moving southeast.

After the waterspout was spotted, The National Weather Service issued a marine warning to boaters and swimmers telling them to stay out of the water until the storm passed.

Although eye-catching, this wasn’t the first time a waterspout was seen off the Florida panhandle in summer. In fact, it’s the fifth water tornado to form in said area. Sadly though, not much is known about these natural phenomena as data on them are rather sparse.

Hundreds of people chimed in with their thoughts after seeing this Florida waterspout.

“Spectacular footage. The beach in the Panhandle is beautiful, and it is lovely to watch when a storm rolls in.”

“While working on the family shrimp boats when young, we saw a lot of them, albeit much smaller than the one shown. Seemed sort of common when squalls were coming in, but we were too busy pulling up the gear before the storm arrived to gawk at them much.”

“As a Floridian, I can assure you that waterspouts don’t scare us.”

This waterspout is fascinating! I can’t believe how it formed.